Studies show that 20% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within a week and about 80% within the year. So, why do we keep doing it? I think the answer lies somewhere between habit and peer pressure. And I think that’s setting you up to fail from the start. Instead of rewarding yourself for doing something good, you’re going to be punishing yourself for breaking a promise. Even if the promise is to yourself and you never tell anyone what it is.
This is why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I would rather make long term goals and allow myself to fail… a lot. Because it’s through those failures that you learn the most. And you can’t be afraid to fail if you are trying too hard not to fail. If that makes any sense.
Blueprint for setting and achieving long term goals:
- Check one thing off your list every day – One thing I’ve learned from being an entrepreneur is that you should always be making strides towards a bigger goal by accomplishing small goals every day. Even if it’s as small as just writing a blog post. It means you’re that much closer to your bigger goal. Achieving small goals gives you the courage and enthusiasm to keep going.
- Prioritize your goals – I have white boards full of ideas, but there are only so many hours in a day. Make sure you prioritize them and do the most important ones first. Writing the great American novel might be on your list, but if you have to pay the bills, your career as a novelist will have to wait. That’s why I like to have long and short term goals. The pie in the sky dream ideas are still going to be on the list, but down near the bottom.
- Tell other people about your goals – These should be people who encourage and give you honest, critical feedback. Once you put your goals out there, you’ll feel obligated to get them done. If you’ve set long term goals, you’ll have time to finish them. Just accomplishing one small one a day counts.
- Make your goals attainable – This is probably why many New Year’s resolutions are broken. Pick goals you know you can achieve. Chasing after ones that will never work erodes your confidence, and you need little successes to keep you going.
- Visualize achieving your goals – You can’t accomplish what you can’t imagine is possible. This is why you need to set long term goals and keep working towards them. Visualizing success is the first step in achieving it.