The temptation is there to set an incredible New Year’s Resolution or a whole set of ambitious goals for 2016. This year, "the transformation of your life," rings through the posts on Facebook at this time of year like nothing else. We have all done it — or at least thought it. But sadly, the stats show that most of us break the new years resolution before January is even over.
Goals image from Shutterstock
That said, goals are important. Did you know it is a function of the brain to continuously problem solve? From the most basic “problems-solving” such as finding food and shelter, the brain is always on a mission. It simply can’t help itself.
There are a hundred reasons why we don’t achieve our new year’s resolutions or our yearly goals and they vary from person to person. But there are ways to use the power of your brain to maximize your goal setting.
Here are my top tips to setting goals (AND achieving them) in 2016:
#1 A vision is different to a goal
We should all have a vision, but that is very different to setting tangible and achievable goals. Goals should be achievable and you should be able to take action weekly. Having a vision is essential, but differentiate between your ultimate vision and the goals you set for yourself.
#2 Set QUARTERLY goals, not yearly goals
While the brain likes to problem solve, it has trouble seeing more than 90 days in advance. Setting 90-day goals increases the chance of achievement. And when you further break it down into 30-day chunks, the brain can easily process this. Todd Herman, a 90-day goal-setting guru calls them sprints – and the studies show that this is the most effective way to set and achieve goals.
One of the reasons that we fail to achieve our resolutions or goals is because they don’t matter enough. They don’t make it high enough on our priority list to cause us to change. Do a values inventory and create a priority list. If your health is your number one value, you are more likely to achieve a goal aligned to your health. Conversely, if connection with loved ones is your number 1 value, you may find it challenging to achieve a work goal that requires extra time and effort at the office because it takes away the “connection” time with loved ones.
#4 Who you become as a result of your goal setting
It is easy to become attached to the outcome of a particular goal. When we fixate on the outcome only, it is easy to ignore the internal changes happening within us. And there are definitely internal changes happening. The discipline and energy it takes to wake up at 5am for a workout or the mental fortitude it takes to learn to be a public speaker is huge. Even if you have not reached the ‘final’ outcome, shifts on multiple levels have taken place. If you fail to acknowledge the internal changes – who you become as a result of working towards your goal – it is easier to give up when times get challenging.
If you embrace the changes within you, it has a consolidation effect. You are able to recognize and value the changes and therefore stick with your new habit, routine or achievements. We all know that SMART goals and specific and measured. Focusing on our personal changes in thinking and behavior as well as the tangible progress towards a goal allows us to re-calibrate if something is not working 100%.
#5 The HOW to
Instead of just thinking about your goals over this quarter, write it down, create a vision board and track your progress in writing. Your progress should include not just the obvious progress towards your outcome, but should acknowledge the changes happening internally. Lastly – have fun, experiment, move out of your comfort zone and be invigorated!
Molly Green is an executive and career coach and creator of the program Everyone Wants to Hire You. Find your best career and other success strategies here.