Every year people across the world set New Year’s resolutions. Many have lofty aspirations for the year ahead and want to move mountains. However, by mid-January things are looking shaky. And as things in a new year speed up, new year’s goals become a pipe dream.
The challenge for many isn’t not wanting to change things enough. Often, it’s how their new year’s resolutions are framed. Goals are a healthy part of life, and a way of better ensuring that we attain desired outcomes. However, they can also be demotivators when they aren’t personally realistic or framed correctly.
This year, try setting goals for the year ahead that are more likely to be attainable within your own context. And remember, goals can be set at any point in a year. So, if you didn’t have any on the 1st of January, and it’s heading to mid-year, there’s no reason not to make a list.
What are the Most Common Goals for a New Year?
Overall, the most widely aspired to new year’s goal is to live healthier. This is followed by wanting to be happier, personal improvement and losing weight. Here are ten of the most common new year’s resolutions.
10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions
- Exercise more.
- Lose weight.
- Get more organised.
- Learn something new or take up a hobby
- Live life to the fullest.
- Spend less money or be better at saving money.
- Stop smoking.
- Spend more time with loved ones.
- Explore and travel more.
- Take more time to read.
Do New Year’s Resolutions Work?
The only way to achieve something is to first decide that it’s something you want to do. Then set a goal, work out how you’re going to do it and implement your plan.
Studies show that those who set a goal are 46% more successful than those who are interested in resolving a problem later. However, this still means that the majority of people struggle to achieve their new year’s goals. Alternative research also shows that 77% of people manage to keep a resolution for one week. And after 2 years, only 19% have kept to their goals.
According to research, there are two precursors to successfully achieving a goal. Firstly, the readiness to change and secondly self-efficacy. These have been shown to be more important than social support and behavioural skills. However, after the 6-month mark of achieving a goal, interpersonal strategies and social support became more important in continued achievement.
3 Typical Reasons for Abandoned Resolutions
- Unrealistic Goals.
- Not tracking progress towards a goal.
- Forgetting about goals.
How to Reframe Your Goals
Choosing to reframe how you phrase your goals can change how you set about achieving them. It’s also important to bear in mind your individual context. For example, if you work full time and have a family, then probably don’t aim to do 2 hours of daily cardio.
Here are 5 practical steps to take when you set your goals. They will help you reframe your goals so you can have a better chance of achieving them.
1. Choose Your Own Goals
Ahead of settling on a goal, think about why you want to achieve it. Is it to please someone else? Because you think you should? Or because everyone else wants to do it? If so, then it might not be what you actually want to do. Your goals should be focused on what you desire and grounded in knowing why you want to do it. If they’re not, then you’re unlikely to be able to be motivated enough to continue working towards achieving them.
2. Plot Your Goals
Work out how you’re going to get to your goal and how you are going to measure your progress while you do it. You can do this by breaking the bigger goal into smaller more attainable milestones. Then working out a timeline that is achievable and makes sense given your individual context. For example, you want to travel and need to save for your trip. How much do you need to save? By when do you need to save it? Workout the amount you’d need to put away weekly or monthly to achieve that goal.
3. Review and Rephrase
Once you’ve got your plan, look at your goal in relation to how you’ve phrased things. Therefore, instead of having a goal to save a big amount, phrase it in a less daunting way. For example, save x amount per week or y amount per month. What you’re doing is creating a molehill of a goal rather than an intimidating mountain. Ideally, you want is to be able to look at your goals and go – that’s not too bad, I can do it!
4. Develop the Right Mindset
Once you’ve set your own goals you need to develop a mindset to achieve them. This means fostering self-efficacy, which is taking time to get yourself to believe that you can do it. Then mentally getting yourself ready to change. This is where you need to take time to listen to your inner monologue. And if need be, adjust it from a critical and negative inner voice to a more positive and supportive one.
5. See Your Plan
Write down your goals and the plan you’ve got on how to achieve them. Draw up a progress chart within your mini milestones that you can tick off. Then keep it somewhere where you can be reminded of what you’re trying to do and track your progress. This will stop you from forgetting your goals, and tracking your progress will better help keep you motivated.
Don’t forget to Be Practical: Sleep
If you want to achieve your goals, then don’t stack the decks against yourself. Sleep has been shown to impact the success rate of attaining goals. Practically, what this means is, be mindful of how much sleep you’re getting. And trying to ensure you get good quality sleep.
Why Sleep is Important to Achieving Goals
What makes sleep so important to achieving a goal? Essentially, sleep impacts our mental, emotional and physical well-being and therefore our performance. For example, sleep has been shown to improve endurance. Therefore, trying to exercise when you are tired is going to be more difficult. Being more sociable and making new friends is unlikely if you are moody because you haven’t slept properly. And sleep impacts productivity, so if you’re aiming to get promoted you need to get enough sleep.
How to Help People Achieve Goals
One profession which aims to help people to achieve their goals is coaching. As a coach, you are integral in helping someone identify what they want to achieve. Thereafter, set realistic goals, strategize on how to attain them and then help keep a client motivated while they do. It is a rewarding career and one in which someone who enjoys working with people can excel within.
Explore the SACAP coaching courses. SACAP has a range of accredited and internationally recognised coaching courses. These are accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and aligned with COMENSA. For more information on how to start becoming a coach, enquire now.