At the beginning of every year, many of us create New Year’s resolutions.
We think about what we did or didn’t accomplish last year. And create new hopes and dreams for the coming year.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows the difference between a resolution and a goal. And few people understand how to set goals and achieve them successfully.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, only 9.2% of all people ever feel that they are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution. And 42% give up after the first month.
1. Tackle Your Scary Thoughts
Let’s get real for a minute. Your goal is scary. You doubt yourself. You don’t know if you can do it. You’ve tried before and failed. Also, what if it gets uncomfortable? What if you have to do things you’ve never done before?
Be realistic about what is going on in your mind. When you sit down to create your goal, also write down your scary thoughts. Take a look at them. And pick one, tiny, realistic thought that will help you reframe what that negative voice is telling you.
If the voice is telling you “I’m not good with money,” think about that sentence: Is it really true? What does a blanket statement like that mean? Maybe you haven’t always reached your goals in the past, but you’ve made some steps in your journey.
So instead, reframe that negative thought. You could try thinking: “Sometimes I have managed my money .” Or, “It’s possible that I can learn to manage my money.”
2. Break down All the Steps to Get There
Let’s revisit the goal of saving $1,000 in the next three months. How will you do that? There are actually a lot of steps. Let’s break down an example of how you could approach it:
- Write down/figure out all the places that you spend money over the course of a month (or several months)
- Write down exactly how much money you earn each month, after taxes
- In order to save $1,000 in three months, you will need to save $333 per month
3. Schedule the Time to Do All the Tasks
Once you have your full list, consult your calendar. Find some time, and schedule each task. On Tuesday at 2pm you will look at your spending. On Thursday at 7pm you will look at your sources of income. Work your way through the list, one step at a time.
Scheduling each step toward your goal is critical to achieving them successfully.
And after all that analysis, the actual method of reaching your goal could come down to one, small change in your habits:
4. Ask Yourself: What Will You Do When Life Gets in the Way?
Dr. Peter Gollwitzer is a Psychology professor at NYU. He has done fascinating research on the power of planning for obstacles. He calls it creating “if-then plans.” He found that people are much more likely to reach a goal if they plan in advance for what to do when things go wrong.
And the reality is, life is going to get in the way.
You committed to the new habit of bringing your coffee from home every morning. Then one morning, your son spills your to-go cup all over the kitchen counter as you are scrambling to head out the door and drop him off on the way to work. No time to re-make your coffee. But coffee is what you desperately need, now more than ever. What will you do?
5. Reward Yourself for Your Efforts
You realized that the key to reaching your goal of saving $1,000 over three months is one, small habit change. A change in the place you get your coffee.
But research shows that you are more likely to reach your goal if you reward yourself for that habit change along the way. (Life Hack)