The silver lining from 2021 is that it provided us all with the opportunity to pause and reflect on what is really important. It also allowed us to discover (or rediscover) our passions and interests. Whether it’s maintaining your healthy eating habits, investing more time for self-care, running, reading more books or resetting your career goals, many of us move into 2022 with the intention to be happy, healthy and the best version of ourselves.
At the start of each year, we explore how to stay on track with the goals you have set for yourself. Sure, the research suggests that only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their New Year resolutions and unsurprisingly, there’s no ‘silver bullet’ to help (that I am aware of). There are, however, some relatively straightforward strategies and techniques that you can use to give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals!
Take the Pressure Off
It’s important that your goals are specific and time-sensitive, but it is also important to make sure that you enjoy working towards them. The more fun you can have while working towards your goals, the more likely you are to stick with it. Why not reward yourself with a prize for each milestone you complete? The bigger the achievement, the bigger the reward! Talk about your goals with your friends, they might have something similar on their list. Working towards it together will definitely be fun and you’ll also have someone to help keep you accountable. Not to mention the support you can provide each other with each hurdle, the learnings you can share and the joy of celebrating each other’s success.
Explore the Impact of Fear and Not Achieving Your Goals
Sometimes it is not the goal that we set that is the biggest challenge, it is finding the energy and motivation to get started. That’s where ‘fear setting’ rather than goal setting may come in handy. This concept is outlined by Tim Ferriss in his TED Talk defining your fears instead of your goals. This TED Talk is well worth watching however, to provide you with a quick overview, here are some of the key tenets of his approach to ‘fear setting’.
- Define your fear. Write down your concerns and be specific
- Prevent. Come up with a list of ways you can prevent your concerns from eventuating
- Repair. If the things you fear, do eventuate, make a list of the action can you take to mitigate or minimise the damage
- Consider the benefits of attempting your goal or partial success. Write down all the benefits you will experience as a result of giving your goal a go. These could be improved confidence and the things you can learn
- Consider the cost of inaction. According to Tim, this is the most important step. Ask yourself if the status quo is maintained, what is the impact in 6 months’ time, 1 years’ time or 3 years’ time?
Tim used this approach to learn how to swim, speak multiple languages and dance – winning a dancing competition!
Write Down Your Goals and Make Them Visible
Whether you place post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, a vision board in your bedroom or a corkboard at your work station, write your goals down and place them somewhere visible. This is a great strategy if you want to achieve your goals, however, don’t take my word for it. The Dominican University in California found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your written goals. So why not give it a try!
Create New Year Habits
Make New Year’s habits, not resolutions. Ultimately the aim of the game here is to change your regular behaviours in a 3 step process:
- Pick a small action.
- Attach the new action to a previous habit.
- Make the new action EASY to do for at least the first week.
Great examples are: I will try one new healthy recipe once a week; I will remove the second teaspoon of sugar from my lattes; I will get off my train/tram/bus 2 stops early and walk the last part into the office. These are small and simple changes that will require a conscious effort but won’t feel like a chore. If you’re really serious about breaking some old habits and creating some new ones, our fellow Clicksters had great success after reading Charles Duhigg’s best-seller, the Power of Habit.
Break Down Your Goals
Most of us have heard of S.M.A.R.T goals, a great way to knuckle down and really understand what achieving your goals looks like. However, going a step further and making your goals and resolutions incremental is a great way to ensure you don’t ‘bite off more than you can chew’. These smaller milestones will help develop regular action and reduce the anxiety of looking at a seemingly mammoth task while providing an excellent opportunity for you to celebrate your progress along the way.
I like to use Olympic athletes as an analogy for this strategy. As the ultimate goal is to take home the gold, every 4 years, these athletes break this mammoth task down into smaller, more manageable milestones to continually improve and assess their progress, celebrating their success along the way.
Evaluate Your Current Habits
One of the reasons our resolutions are often not accomplished is because we are too busy with other things. A good way to ensure that you can dedicate some time to your goals (and actually get them done) is by making sure that they line up to your everyday life. It’s likely that you’re going to have to give up something you already do to make time to work on your new goals, so making sure that they work in with your lifestyle is definitely important. Even if it is as simple as getting your daily step count to 10,000, you’ll have to find a way to fit this into your regular day – taking the stairs, getting off the bus or train one stop sooner or even going for a morning or evening walk.
There you have it, six simple strategies to help you make the most of your goals in 2022. If you haven’t set your goals, habits or resolutions yet, why not give these strategies a try? Who knows, they might just help you knock your goals out of the park this year!