Ask Erin: You Can and You Will
You CAN and You WILL
(Keep Your New Year Resolutions)
by Erin Sharplin Love
Statistically, only eight percent of those who make resolutions for the New Year actually keep them. Despite all good intentions, many lack the motivation and dedication to follow through. But, how would you like to be one of those select few who can stick to their original plans for living a better life? Whether you aspire to have better relationships with friends or family, to be more organized or to improve your body or mind, the following tips just might keep you motivated and on course to complete those goals:
The trick to reaching a goal, whether business or personal, is to be S.M.A.R.T about it!
The more specific you are about each goal the better. For instance, if your resolution (goal) is to “save more money,” simply stating that fact isn’t enough. Instead, consider the dollar amount that you would like to save – say $10,000.
Next, make sure you set up your goal so that you can tell if you are on track to reach it. Once you set the goal, work backward to determine what you need to save, for instance. If you want to have $10,000 by the end of December, you must put back approximately $833 each month.
A goal must be attainable, or within reach, for you to maintain momentum toward reaching it. If you set a goal of saving $100,000 this year and that amount is not realistic, chances are you will not be successful.
Next, a goal must be relevant to you and your life right now. For instance, maybe a friend has made the resolution to get fit this year, and she has asked you to join in. You agree; but that isn’t really a priority for you right now, so the chances of your keeping this resolution are zero to none.
Lastly, a “complete by” date is a necessity for staying on track to attaining your goal. Otherwise, the urgency is lost, and so is the momentum.
So, to conclude, an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal is this – I want to save $10,000 by December 31, 2017. I will set aside at least $833 a month ($192 per week). This money will then be used for a family trip to Disney World.
You might not reach your weekly or monthly goal every single time, so be aware of this and commit to practicing patience with yourself. You will be able to make up for the shortfall, if you are calm and prepared.
Find an Accountability Partner
Talk to that friend who wants to lose weight and see if she is willing to enter an accountability partnership with you. The best partners meet at least once a month and speak on the phone at least once a week. They ask questions and give advice on how to stay on track to meet your chosen goal. Statistics have shown that if someone is watching you and keeping track of how well you are doing toward reaching your goals, the more likely you are to maintain momentum toward meeting those goals.
Every completed action that supports your end goal should come with some sort of reward. It doesn’t have to cost money or be extravagant. In fact, I recommend that the reward be something simple but fun. I reward myself with a glass of wine or an extra-long soak in the tub. Or, I ask my husband to put the kids to bed for me, so I can enjoy my book a little longer. Your reward needs to refresh you, so that your mind is clear enough to continue your progress.
Reaching your goals isn’t so much about willpower as it is about learning the skills it takes to master them. These skills can be used in every aspect of your life. You Can and You Will, so get out there and achieve your goals!!