Sticking to Goals: A New Look at New Year’s Resolutions


Cheers to 2016 and setting goals!
Cheers to 2016 and setting goals!


Less than 10% of people who make a New Year’s Resolution actually accomplish it. The main reason so many people fail is due to their approaches. If you’re trying to become one of the 10%, consider thinking about New Year’s Resolutions as goals versus mere declarations. This goal mentality will help quantify your efforts and track your progress towards success.


An easy way to break down effective goals is the SMART approach: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-constrained. By translating your New Year’s resolutions into SMART goals, you’ll be more likely to succeed.


Specific: State Exactly What You Want To Accomplish
Resolving to lose weight or be more considerate are great resolutions, but need quantifiable attributes to become successful goals. Translate the resolutions to “I want to lose 30 pounds” or “I want to accomplish 3 acts of kindness a day” or “I want to stop my gossiping and will be consciously tracking every time I speak about others.” The more specific, the more focused you’ll be.


Measurable: Determine the Parameters of Your Resolution
Some goals, like running a marathon or keeping a tidier house, are better qualified than others such as spending more quality time with a friend or with your kids. Determine what quantifies your specific goal then set milestones to better track your progress and boost motivation. They’ll act as checkpoints: helping you stay motivated or prompt re-calibration of progress checks along the way.
For example, your goal is to lose twenty pounds. You set a milestone of losing fourteen pounds by July 1st. By July 1st you lost only twelve pounds, however, you lost 6 inches on you waist and gained muscle definition. Did you fail? Not necessarily: muscle weighs more that fat so you probably burned the fat, but replaced the weight with muscle. You’ll need to recognize the initial pounds melted off, keeping in line with a steady 2 pounds per month loss, but the remaining weight may be more stubborn. You can adjust your checkpoints to 1 pound a month, or incorporate waist measurements.


Achievable: Think Big….but Not Too Big
People tend to become discouraged after failure. Don’t set yourself up for constant obstacles and failures, be sure your resolution is reasonable for you. With that said, a few failures and obstacles are good, they are what make us stronger and propel us to attain our goals. Don’t be afraid to look towards advice along the way in the form of professionals, friends, family, and informational material on whatever you’re tackling. Oftentimes outside help will be the extra boost you need to overcome a roadblock.


Results-Focused: What are You Trying to Do?
Consider your resolution, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you losing weight just to be skinnier or for health reasons? Are you trying to be nicer to people to gain more friends or simply to be kinder? Many goals have primary and secondary intentions. Once you determine your true intentions, you’ll be better motivated and prepared to face challenges. Additionally, if your intentions fall flat, maybe your resolution isn’t really one you care enough to do, in which case you’ll likely lack motivation to accomplish and will fail to complete. This is the time to be honest with yourself.


Time-Constrained: How Long? Don’t Feel Constrained by New Years
Your goal should have a deadline, that’s what keeps you on track and progressing. Some resolutions, like running a marathon, are determined by outside scheduling, others, like lifestyle changes can be more difficult to create deadlines. Sticking to a routine will help tackle most goals, and transform an act into a lifestyle change.

Finally, don’t feel constrained by New Years to make a resolution. Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean you need to change any aspect of yourself. Whit that said, don’t shun goal-setting. Goals force us to develop and strengthen in their respective focused areas. Consider having birthday goals where you set financial, health, travel, or social goals every year on your birthday, or even seasonal goals to tackle smaller changes. Individuals who struggle to think long term can set month goals, or even week goals. Begin with small increments of time and work your way up.


New Years resolutions are great, if you stick with them. By viewing resolutions as goals, and applying SMART principles, you’ll be better prepared to track your progress, tackle obstacles, and accomplish your goals. Being specific with your goal and your intentions in accomplishing the goal, paying careful attention to your results and progress, and sticking to your deadlines, you’ll remain motivated and progress through obstacles.

Is it all worth it?

Consider that with every accomplished goal you’ll become stronger and wiser, plus it’ll help keep life a bit more interesting if you’re constantly pushing yourself further. Cheers to you and your 2016 goals!