The first few weeks of a New Year leave many wandering back to the first day of school: the goals have been written out, the books have been purchased, and the schedules are highlighted to greet the unexpected with ease. The management firm of FranklinCovey predicts that, on average, the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail by the end of January. With a look at details such as goal wording, approach, attitude, support and balance, the path to fulfilling the potential of that first-day-of-school hope becomes a little more clear.
What is the ultimate catalyst for making new goals stick? And why is it so hard to reach the goals when we wrap them in the excitement of a new year? Humans accomplish things everyday, waking up, brushing teeth, cooking food, having children and graduating from school. The problems don’t lie in our simple laziness as a general society, but somewhere along the path from point A to point B. However, sometimes the issue may start at point A. According to the New York Times, successful New Year’s resolutions actually starts with picking the right goal. If a resolution is stemming from the expectations and perceptions of others rather than one’s own desires, the disconnect often encourages negativity and apathy around the goal.
With a clear intention, resolutions need the right words to pave the way to a resolution journey of positivity. Smartsheet, a software service for collaboration and work management, advises users to keep the wording of goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, or SMART. Yet nice words alone can’t carry resolutions throughout the course of an entire year. Goals aren’t only more likely to be achieved with supporters but they are also more fun. Karson McGinley, a yoga instructor and contributing writer at the Chopra Center, a center for experiences, education, teacher trainings and products that improve the health and well-being of body, mind, and spirit, says that having a community of accountability can play a huge part in achieving goals. She uses the analogy of a loud 5:30 a.m. alarm for an early morning workout on a rainy day when your blankets are perfectly placed. What will get you out of bed? McGinley says that studies have shown that sharing your goals with others makes you twice as likely to actually achieve them.
Although all this layout serves purpose, much of keeping resolutions going is subjective. For some, tough love eeds to be the center for anything to get done. Jocko Willink, an American podcaster, author and retired US Navy Seal, is all about bringing discipline to goal making. On his popular Instagram account, he posted a New Year video saying, “Start doing what you’re supposed to do and being who you are supposed to be…. now.” In all of his media, he calls upon his audience to stop making excuses and go “get some” each and every day. Ultimately, achieving in 2019 and in any New Year comes down to one’s openness to adaptation. Start with a plan that mirrors the language of Smartsheet, find some friends to keep you going and bring some tough love in when needed but be open to adapting your strategy to what works. Make the New Year as big of a deal as the first day of school and watch the resolutions become clear.