While the New Year is ideal for setting new goals, the most important thing is to design a system to make them a reality.
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The start of the year is a good time to reflect on personal and professional performance and to set goals for the coming year. However, few people fulfill their purposes. According to experts, the reason for these failures is that most of us lack the structure to endure the behavioral changes that the new goals require.
So, follow these six tricks to help you fulfill your New Year’s resolutions:
Limit the number of goals
Social psychologist Chris Berdik says he makes a short list of resolutions every year, claiming that many of us don’t comply because there are too many. If we make too many demands on our willpower, we miss the point and throw in the towel prematurely because we are frustrated. By choosing fewer goals, there are fewer ways of feeling like we are failing and fewer demands on our willpower.
Although goal writing is a widely used technique because it forces deeper engagement, sports psychologist Michael Gervais recommends going a step further and also writing down the things that might get in the way of achieving those goals. “This is where you start to identify the thoughts that are preventing you from daring yourself,” he says. For example, if you have set yourself the goal of calling 20 prospects a day, for example, but you are afraid of rejection, accept those fears and think about ways to turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
Set realistic goals
“The people who set the most effective goals are the ones who find the middle ground between overwhelming and uninteresting,” says Gervais. While a goal that is too small won’t create enough stress, a goal that is too big can make us feel overwhelmed. When you’ve set yourself a very ambitious purpose, break it down into smaller, more realistic pieces with detailed plans for how you can achieve those micro-goals over the course of the year.
Find a partner
“If my wife and I have the same goals, we achieve them better than if we have singles,” says Berdik. Find people who share your goal and who motivate each other to achieve it.
Make your goals tangible
Instead of saying, “I will eat healthily,” says Gervais to set a specific goal, like, “I will have a vegetable with every meal.” This gives the brain a visual goal to work towards. “We create images in our heads that set the direction for future behavior,” says Gervais.
Decide on a general topic for the next year
What is 2014 about for you? Maybe it’s the year of balance, health, or maybe performance. Decide in one word that becomes the theme of what has been driving you for the past 12 months and create a mind map that connects your goals with that general idea. “We want to generate focused energy so that we can use our daily energy resource for this problem,” says Gervais.