New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and we all know that means it’s resolution time. Although I love the band Death Cab for Cutie, I can’t agree with them that resolutions are “self-assigned penance for problems with easy solutions.” The truth is, resolutions can be tough. According to Psychology Today, 60% of people have failed in their resolutions six months into the year. The main reasons people cite for failure to stick to their resolutions are unclear goals and failing to track progress.
So, in an attempt to help you address those problems, I’d like to offer you three practical tips and a tool to help you achieve what you want to achieve in 2016.
1. Get Focused
“Focus is a little-noticed and underrated asset.” — Daniel Goleman
The first step in achieving goals is figuring out what matters to you. At the end of the year, it’s natural to think about what progress you’ve made or opportunities you’ve seized, or squandered. Indulge that natural inclination, and sharpen it. Take some time to reflect on your accomplishments of the past year, and some of the biggest decisions you’ve made. Think about what you want to sustain, and what you want to change. This will form a solid foundation for setting your goals.
2. Be Clear
“Clarity is the antidote to anxiety.” — Marcus Buckingham
Once you have examined where you’ve been, it’s time to get really clear on where you want to go. One way to do that is to focus intently on different areas of your life into which your goals fall. For example: Career, Finance, Health, Relationship, Personal Development, Community/Charity. Beyond simply identifying what you want to achieve, give some thought to how you can achieve it most efficiently. What natural strengths can you put to work for each goal you have?
3. Take Action
“Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.” — Italian Proverb
Begin by acknowledging that setting a goal is not even half of the battle. After you get crystal clear on what you want to achieve, know that it will take plenty of hard work to do it. And that’s okay. But to keep yourself on track, commit to three steps for any goal. First, identify and commit to taking one or two simple actions toward achieving your goal right now. Whatever can be done as a first step, do it. Start building momentum. Then, commit to a weekly discipline that will help keep your goals front and center. Finally, give yourself a measurement, or a scorecard — something that will let you know whether you’re staying on track. When you measure progress, and can see that you are, in fact, progressing, it will be easier to keep working toward what you need to achieve.
As you enter 2016, I encourage you to focus on bringing intentional imbalance to your life — give the most attention to what energizes you to get the results you want. Learn to clearly identify and leverage your strengths. Engage in those activities that make you feel strong and spend less time doing what weakens you.
Once you complete this tool, you will have your goals in sight, along with your blueprint for how to achieve them. Make sure to keep measuring your progress and hold yourself accountable. Don’t call them new year’s resolutions; call them all-year revolutions.
Here’s to achieving your goals and making 2016 your strongest year yet.
Charlotte Jordan Saulny is President and SVP of Education and Coaching at TMBC. I am an advisor through and through. You won’t have to ask me twice to hear my opinion. I believe there is a special genius in making distinctions that unlock understanding and tease out the subtle nuances that distinguish the best course of action from a good course of action. Usually this core belief manifests in a very customized and targeted approach to consulting with clients and leading The Marcus Buckingham Company’s coaching and learning services. Here, it will take the form of distinctions I hope will be of broader use for everyone. When I’m not working, the best course of action usually involves hiking with my kids and two Great Danes in the mountains behind my house, or watching “Game of Thrones.”