I am the first person to admit I love a new year. Its the perfect time to reflect on your successes and failures over the last year and plan on how the coming year is going to be your best. Im sure many of us have some common resolutions for 2013 around health and wellness (actually using the gym membership weve been paying for!), getting organized, spending less, work/life balance and so on, but I also know we each have some goals that are very personal and unique.
Over the last few weeks as Ive been planning for 2013 the question came in to my mind whats going to be different this time? Many laugh at those who create New Years resolutions and rightly so. A recent study on New Years Resolution Statistics from the University of Scranton shows that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. However, it also shows that people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who dont explicitly make resolutions. This tells me its worth doing, but how?
As I kicked off building my 2013 resolution list, I pulled out my 2012 goals and was disappointed to realize there was more than one goal on there I had barely moved the needle on. I consider myself to be a fairly smart planner and goal setter, so how could this happen? How could someone that lives and breathes deadlines and execution in their day-to-day career miss the mark on personal goals that at this time last year were so near and dear?
It really comes down to this: if every year you set New Years resolutions with the best intentions on being successful but dont change your approach on how youll be successful in achieving them, chances are that you will fail. Plain and simple. It goes back to the old definition of insanity: to keep doing the same things but expect different results.
Here are four things you can do differently in 2013 to increase your chances for success:
1. Plan realistically. So you want to take on the world, transform your life in every way and become your best self I get it. After all, who doesnt? However, it took you many years to get to where you are today so it will likely take a while to reinvent yourself. Determine what goals will make the biggest impact in your life and are truly most important and stick with those. By over-committing, you run the risk of failing at everything, so youre better off to identify the 'critical few' and increase your chances for success.
2. Hire a life or business coach. Over the years Ive learned that one of the most powerful motivators for me is accountability so when I owned my own business, having accountability to a business coach increased my speed of execution exponentially and allowed me to successfully achieve goals that had seemed out of reach for a long time. A life or business coach holds you extremely accountable so even if you work with one for two or three months, you can get some good routines and habits in place which youll benefit from for the rest of the year (and in some cases, years to come). If one of your goals is around health and wellness, your coach may even be a personal trainer. Either way, having someone who knows exactly what youre trying to achieve and ensures you stay on the right track with your actions can be extremely valuable.
3. Set up regular check-ins. Any time you set goals and stuff them in a drawer, you are destined for failure, yet so many people do that with their New Years resolutions. In order to be successful, write down your goals for the year, determine what you need to achieve each month in order to reach your targets by the end of the year and then check in at least once a week on how youre progressing. You may choose to do these touch-points with your spouse, significant other, friend, colleague or just on your own, but having regular check-ins to monitor progress will be critical to your success.
4. Dont let your past determine your future. Often people look back at resolutions from previous years and use their success from the past determine how successful they believe they can be at achieving their goals in 2013, which is a huge mistake. Remember that successful people often had to make dozens of attempts before they achieved greatness. Just because you havent been successful at sticking with your New Years resolutions in the past doesnt mean you cant be successful in 2013. Its a new year and a fresh opportunity for you to create a new (and different) outcome.
Bottom line: I have every confidence we are all completely capable of achieving great things and seeing our New Years Resolutions turn in to reality. However, dont expect success if you use the same approach that hasnt worked for you in the past chances are it will require a new approach to get different results. What do you plan to do differently in 2013 to create your best year yet?