Reasearch shows that 92% of people set new year resolutions and goals year after year (whether this is weight loss or landing a job or getting a degree) but few of us really follow through and take action to achieve those goals. So what is it about setting new year resolutions? Is it just excitement or do we really intend to achieve our goals in the new year but get distracted by life commitments. In this article I share 5 things that will help you follow through on your new year goals and resolutions.
1. Have a higher personal standards
The quote by Norma Vincent Peale proves to be true when it comes to success, “aim for the moon, even if you miss you will land amongst the stars”. To be successful you need to have higher standards. As you reflect on 2016 improve your life standards going to 2017. Improve standards in every area of your life career, finances, relationships and spiritual growth. Aim to do better to achieve more.
Realise that in order to improve your standards you also have to have the right self-image. It is not easy to aim high when you feel lousy about yourself and feel like you do not deserve to be successful. So, try to let go of all past negative experiences that might have made you doubt yourself. Go to 2016 with a new personal slogan that says, “I am worth it, I deserve all the success”
2. Define your success in a way that speaks to you.
Some of us are programmed by society when it comes to success. We see people doing well financially and living luxurious lifestyles and define success in their terms not our terms. It’s OK to admire others however the problem with this approach is that defining success in terms of what you see around you might not give you the drive that you need to succeed. This has happened in my own life. For a while I have been impressed with entrepreneurship. I saw some of my friends who were entrepreneurs doing really well in business and living lavish lifestyles. And so, I started thinking that I need to start my own business too because I was seeing my friends and they were doing really well. I registered a business and started looking for opportunities. But somehow I just did not have the right energy for it. I couldn’t figure it out. I just wasn’t motivated to work hard on the business.
Until one day as I was taking a long drive (solitary long drives do help you have self introspection), as I was thinking I figured it out that I actually defined success in a wrong way. This was the reason I was not motivated on my goal to become an entrepreneurial success.
I had defined success in terms of money because I saw my friends. The problem was that money is important to me but it doesn’t motivate me. That’s why I couldn’t take inspired action on my entrepreneurial goal. I had to figure out a way to define success that is authentic to me. This would make my goals exciting and motivate me to work hard. I had to find my own purpose and not just want business because of what I was seeing from my friends.
Business success to me means creating value for others and making a real difference in people’s lives. Once I had this definition, my purpose connected much better to my business and I really started working hard and engaging.
There are many cases where you might kinda of want certain things because they are perceived by others as important. However, you might find that whatever perception others have is not what speaks to you.
Define success in a way that speaks to you and your true passion and aspirations. You will no longer have to drag yourself to working hard towards your goals because when your goals speak to your heart you get automatically motivated to pursue them.
3. Set goals
Imagine tow people having to sell bananas on the street, as is the case with many open market street sellers in Africa. One has a daily target of selling 30 bananas. The other just goes with the flow and has no target at all. Who of these two people do you think will do better at selling bananas considering that selling on the street is not easy. I think the person with the target will do better and they can be able to adjust. If they had started at 8 am and sold 25 bananas by 3:30 before knocking off at 16:00 they can push hard for just 5 more sales to reach their target – because when you quantify your target you always try to hit. On the other hand the person with no target has nothing to measure themselves against. They might not be even motivated to push for more sales.
Setting goals is important because it engages our minds and help us push harder to achieve our goals. Once you have a number relating to the goal that you are working towards, it is more likely that you will push harder to achieve it.
4. Act on your goals and receive feedback
It goes without saying that nothing happens by itself. You have to take action and exert energy to achieve your goals. Taking action requires discipline and sometimes we have to act even if we do not feel like doing so. The best way to get things done is now. There is always something you can do to act on your goals immediately. Here is an exercise… take a piece of paper, write your goals in on it at the front page. Turn the page around and write what you can do immediately to achieve those goals. Act!
5. Reconnect to your goals constantly
Life does get busy. There are constant calls, emails and people to attend to. it is possible to disconnect to your goals and only re-look at them towards the end of the year.
Time occasionally feels like it passes by quickly and you might feel like you have not progressed. You need to develop a routine to reconnect to your goals constantly.
The best way is to have solitary moments as a ritual where you reflect on your life. This can be an activity where you take a walk every once in a while or run or just meditate. Whatever the activity is ensure that you do it alone. As you reflect on your life ask yourself these three important questions, “How am I doing towards achieving my goals?”, “Am I still heading towards the right direction”, “What do I need to improve on?”, “What do I commit to do immediately in order to achieve my goals?”
This will help you constantly reconnect to your goals and not get distracted from achieving them.
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