If you want to create plans, set goals or make resolutions for 2022 that actually come to fruition, I suggest that you first take out the list of resolutions that you made for 2021. How did you do?
I’ve read that while 50% of us actually create new goals for the New Year, 88% of us fail at keeping them. I know that is not encouraging data, and you may think that with Covid, Delta Omicron and who knows what else lie ahead there is no point in making plans – I know how we can do better at the keeping and achieving goals rate.
Keeping a promise you’ve made to yourself takes discipline, a skill much like any other muscle in your body. It needs exercise and conditioning to get — and stay in shape. If you don’t have much will power, calling on that (or any other) muscle to suddenly be in terrific condition on January 1 is probably asking too much.
Vague promises = Of Little Use
Managing stress is fuzzy and not the same as developing the specific habit of turning your email off after 7:00 pm. While many of us include eating better, losing weight, quitting smoking, cutting back on liquor intake, and having better work/life balance as goals for the coming year, making a specific goal can make you 50% more likely to actually accomplish your resolution. Rather than focus on self-improvement you might want to focus on professional improvement and meet with employees every other week for performance management. Make the new resolution something that is important to you with a benefit that is tangible.
If you want to increase the likelihood of successfully keeping your resolution, I encourage you to follow these simple steps:
- One Not Some – Choose just one thing to do differently (to start). Stack the deck in your favor by putting all of your energy into accomplishing one key change in the coming year. Rather than disperse your energy and willpower, focusing on one major change in your life will increase your odds of success.
- Build on Small Wins – When a doctor admonishes you to lose 20 pounds, you might laugh in their face. But when asked if you can lose 5 pounds, it’s a much more doable target. Start with easy victories to build on.
- Share – Telling a few key people about your goal and enlisting their help or support can make the difference between failure and success. Another person can have a major impact on your behavior. Sometimes, writing it down (and keeping it visible) can help you keep the focus on what you want to do. Seeing how you are moving toward achieving your goal can add to your overall happiness.
- Rewards Matter – Keeping the goal for the year is the point but rewarding yourself along the way can keep you motivated. While enjoying desert after losing weight seems counterproductive, a small serving of a favorite sweet won’t add back all of the weight you’ve lost. An even better idea is to reward yourself with something that has nothing to do with calories at all such as a massage.
Don’t be discouraged if your path to success is not straight and true. Setbacks are pretty common and there may be unforeseen circumstances that made the future impossible to predict. Strong willpower is a learned skill too and not a personality trait. You can get better with practice.
You’ve got a year to make your success happen. If the past is any indication, it will be here before we know it
Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management consulting practice that specializes in developing people in the areas of leadership and management, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 30 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at http://jonidaniels.com