With the new year in full swing, millions of people are well into their self-imposed challenge, which regardless of the resolution, usually boils down to bettering themselves in 2014. In fact, according to research from the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. But the point of goals isn’t to make them, it’s to achieve them. And though nearly one in two people set personal goals each year, a staggering 92% of those goal setters aren’t successful in achieving their resolutions. Despite good intentions, well-meaning individuals fail each and every year. So, how do we break such a habitual issue? The short answer: power through. The long answer: go deeper into how we set goals and how to set ourselves up for success. The outcome could take you to the next level.
Big Goals, Small Steps
There have been countless studies devoted to goal setting, and though everyone is different, there is one truth in common: success happens one step at a time. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took centuries to accomplish the outlandish goals of the empire. Most of us dream big, have grandiose ideas, and larger-than-life aspirations. But once we put them to paper, we get overwhelmed with the seemingly impossible expectations of the goals. This is where the mantra “Big Goals, Small Steps” comes in. For instance, if your goal is to move from mid-management to senior leadership, map out the little things it would take for you to get there. One small step could be volunteering to take on a project outside your job description to show your loyalty to the overall success of the company. It’s important to dream big and set our eyes on the seemingly impossible. Just break up that goal into smaller ones and see how much more successful you are this year!
Timing is Everything
Breaking down large goals into small ones is imperative to accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions. But, setting time frames to each step is what will give your goals some skin. According to the University of Scranton’s research, the percentage of goals setters who maintain their resolution drops each week, and though 75% maintain through the first week, the average drops to only 46% after six months. The problem is not setting checkpoints along the way. After you map out the steps it will take to achieve your goal, it is important to set a time frame for each step to help you visualize deadlines throughout the year. If there are 12 steps to get to your goal at the office, focus only on one goal at a time. Don’t look forward until you have achieved the previous step. Mapping out each small accomplish allows you to view your progress along the way and keep yourself accountable.
Flexible and Fluid Process
One issue many have is once a goal is set and steps are in place, any unaccounted-for variable along the way throws them off and they have a hard time diverting from the original plan. Though it is important to build out steps to reach goals and schedule timeframes for each step, sometimes things change along the way and you must reevaluate the process. For instance, if you find the second step is no longer relevant to the overall process after you finish the first step, then update your plan and jump to the third step. Just because it is planned and scheduled in the beginning, doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone. The process of achieving goals is fluid and always evolving. Be open to change and flexible enough to roll with the punches. Remember, these are your goals. You’re accountable for the end result. Evaluate each step at the end of the time frame and decide whether the process needs to be updated or not.
Sometimes goals can be daunting; especially if you are shooting for the stars. But if you break down each goal into specific steps, create a timeframe for the process, and allow yourself the ability to evolve along the way, 2014 could be the year you take that next step in your life to become the leader you want to be.
Do you set resolutions? What are some steps you take to accomplish them? Let us know in the comments section below!