Blog post: 4 Easy Ways to Increase the Chances to Achieve Your 2018 Resolutions and Boost Your Productivity Too
The New Year’s resolution is an age-old way to address our bad habits as a society. Each new year is a fresh start to live the life you truly deserve. The big challenge is that old habits are tough to break. It takes new actions to get new results. You’ve got to have a way to connect your goal to new habits that you actually want.
According to a recent New York Times article, most of us set up a big and unclear goal and lose hope before the end of January. I know I’ve been guilty of that until I learned about SMART goals and the science behind creating habits. The easiest ways to accomplish your resolution is to be committed to the change and take action. Here are four great tips that will help you laser focus and get more of what you want out of 2018.
- Pick just one major resolution
You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you have no more than three at a time. The science says multitasking will not get you where you need to be.
- Pick a resolution that you are passionate about
It’s tough to get passionate about a goal that a boss, parent or well-meaning friend is pushing you to take on. If you agree that you need to make the shift, they recommend, commit to doing it for yourself and make it something interesting. Get curious about the upside that the goal has for you – self-respect, fun, proving someone wrong, whatever pulls you closer to the goal
- Practice a new way of thinking about your goals and progress
Don’t be overly optimistic or too critical of yourself.
Acknowledge your humanity.
Allow yourself to make mistakes.
Don’t talk yourself out of the rewards you could have by getting more organized, losing weight, getting more sleep or any goal you’re aiming to achieve.
On the flipside, stay away from magical thinking. Unless you’re Harry Potter, you can’t magically change time, other people or the laws of physics to make your goal happen. The data shows that being too optimistic leads to frustration and disappointment that often causes people to abandon all hope of achievement.
- Avoid the major reason why people fail at resolutions – they are too vague
It’s an age-old problem of garbage in means garbage out. If you have hazy goals, how do you know you’re meeting the objective? Productivity experts swear by SMART goals to get crystal clear on what your goal looks like and how you are going to achieve it. Initially, I used it for Engineering project goals and my annual performance goal setting. I swear by SMART goals because they have simplified lots of projects and helped me stay on track with the distractions and the setbacks pop up.
Here’s what SMART stands for:
S – Specific – Define the specific actions you will take to achieve the goal
M – Measurable – How can you measure your progress?
A – Action Oriented – Goal should define action needed to achieve success
R – Realistic – Is the goal attainable and meaningful to you? Do you have the power to make the goal real?
T – Time Sensitive – Set a timeline to accomplish the goal
If your goal is to lose weight or like me and get more sleep, we have to add some details to be more effective and see progress which keeps us working on the new habit that we need to achieve the goal.
Using my resolution to get more sleep as an example:
S – Specific – Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
M – Measurable – Keep a sleep journal using my activity tracker; look for weekly averages
A – Action Oriented – I’ll start my bedtime routine earlier
R – Realistic – Yes, I need to feel fresh, creative and energized each morning. 100% within my control to get at least 7 hours each night
T – Time Sensitive – By March 31, I want to have average 8 hours per night sleep
I have my resolution on a stickie note on my bedroom mirror to remind me. It says:
7-9 hours of sleep.
Target High Score: 8 hours per night Due: 3/31
Baseline: 6.9 hours/December
For some reason, having that in my line of sight is a great reminder to not look at my phone one more time and go to bed.
Want more helpful tips and ideas like this? Sign up for the weekly newsletter and get complimentary SMART Goalsetting checklist: click here.