4 Practical Steps to Achieving Your New Year Goals

What is your one big goal that you want to accomplish in 2014?  

If you follow my blog, you know that I’m asking that question alot to myself, family, clients and even you — because goals are everything.  It’s also why I love the new year — a chance for a fresh start filled with optimism, happiness, and prosperity.

4-Tips-to-achieve-goalBut, unfortunately 25% of people who make new year resolutions will quit in the first week and less than 8% will successfully achieve their resolution.  What about you?  Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others?  If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion.

According to motivational psychologist and Associate Director of Columbia’s Motivation Science Center Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D., successful people reach their personal and professional goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.  And I absolutely agree with her research!

The first step is “GET SPECIFIC.”  When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible.  “Lose five pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like.  Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also think of specific small steps that you need to take to reach your goal.  “Stop eating by 8 p.m.” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

Pegs-Goals-2014“BELIEVE” in your ability to succeed is extremely helpful in setting and achieving your goals.   As the saying goes, “there are no unrealistic goals, just unrealistic timelines.”  Avoid the temptation to underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal.  Achieving your goal requires planning, effort, commitment and persistence.  There are no short cuts.  When you start to distract from goal (like binge eating or drinking),or have feelings of “self-doubt” – reflect back on some goals you accomplished inspite of difficulties and obstacles. Shift your mindset to focus on getting better, rather than on doing everything perfectly right out of the gate.

Achieving your goal requires knowing exactly how far you have left to go.   “REVIEW” your progress – weekly or even daily depending on the goal.  If you don’t know your progress or lack of, you can’t make changes in your strategies.  A great example of this step is from Weight Watchers — the weekly weigh-in. This form of assessment offers feedback and motivation to keep on going.  Consider using your calendar as a productivity worksheet.

“ACTION” – is the single most effective thing you can do to increase your chances of success.  As busy professionals, we sometimes fail to seize the moments of opportunity.  Start by deciding when and where you want to take action.  If you really want to lose 50 pounds this year, deciding to exercise daily at the gym before work helps to program your brain thus increasing your chances of success.

Lastly, what is it you want to accomplish this year?  I’d love to know.





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