As the new year approaches, if you’re like me, you’ve been thinking about the things you’d like to accomplish in 2017. Many of us make resolutions as the new year begins, but how many of us can honestly say, at the end of that year, that we accomplished all we resolved to do? Based on my personal experience and research, the answer is: not many!
There are many factors that determine whether a person will be successful in achieving a resolution. If I were to try to list them all, you’d probably stop reading right here. However, there are some simple steps that will greatly increase the odds that you will succeed in achieving your resolutions in 2017.
Five steps for turning your resolutions into reality.
1. Stop all the wantin’, wishin’, and dreamin’ and get specific. Instead of saying you “want to be a better communicator,” “wish to be more successful,” or “hope for better health,” define exactly what that means and state it as a fact. “I will increase my income by 20% by June 15, 2017,” is a much better resolution than just saying you want to make more money.
2. Be realistic. Unless you win the lottery, you’re not likely to increase your income by $1 million in the first quarter of 2017, nor are you likely to lose 100 pounds in that time frame. Set challenging goals, but not impossible ones. Do your homework, know yourself and your situation, and create your own individual plan. Additionally, be realistic with how many resolutions you make. If your resolution list is 10 deep, what are the odds you’re going to make it all happen?
3. Break your resolution into single, manageable tasks. If your goal is to start a business, what are all the steps you’ll need to take to do so? When you think you have all the steps, show your list to someone else (preferably someone experienced with that process) to see if you’re missing anything. Additionally, you should look at each step and see if can be further broken down. For example, “website development” is actually more than one task, as it involves (1) identifying what to look for in a web developer, (2) researching web developers themselves, (3) contacting web developers, (4) contacting developer references, and more.
4. Set specific dates and deadlines for your activities. It’s very easy to put something off if there’s no deadline for accomplishing it. Once you have all the steps identified to achieve your resolution, put a deadline to each one and stick to it. If your deadline is to lose weight by going to the gym three times a week, identify a start date AND the three days you’ll go each week and put them on your calendar.
5. Be accountable. I’m realistic enough to know that when you set dates for all your activities, some may have to slip. That being said, letting too many slip, or re-adjusting resolutions too much, can be a recipe for failure. For example, if you’ve decided to lose five pounds per month and in the first two months you only lose five pounds total, you have two choices, make up for the missing pounds or adjust your goal. However, before you give up and change the goal to 2.5 lbs per month, consider where that will put you at the end of the year. Also ask yourself, “Is this really the best I can do?” and do some soul searching as to whether you’re really committed to achieving your goal. Brutally scrutinize your reasons for slipping up. Are they legitimate, or are you making excuses? Finally, if you need support, find an “accountability partner” who will check in with you periodically to help monitor your progress and help keep you motivated and accountable.
Believe in yourself, create a realistic and specific plan, and stick to it, and I know that 2017 will be the year your resolutions become a reality!