8. That is the percentage of people who will accomplish their new Year’s resolution goals this year. 25. That is the percentage of people who will even make it past 30 days of trying to achieve those goals. That means by Valentines Day, 75 percent of those of us reading (and writing) this post will have probably given up on those aspirational hopes we spoke as the ball dropped and we all stepped into 2020. It’s not looking promising for us to hit those goals we so hoped for.
These numbers might seem depressing, if nothing else, they are probably sobering. Most of us are not great at setting and achieving goals, particularly those that have to do with our own self-improvement. Take solace in the fact that you are not alone. However, know we can do something about it.
Why have we given up!?
First, we as a species, tend to seek comfort over improvement. Many of us, when the weather gets cold, would rather turn in and snuggle under a blanket than go for a run. Second, change is inherently a hard thing for many of us. Most of us do what we do because either it works or we enjoy it. Change in itself is hard and drastic change is even harder. However, I believe people can do hard things. The question is, how do we do it in such a way that we don’t find ourselves a statistic? How do we not fail our goals curled up in bed hitting the snooze button when we could be up enriching our lives?
Part of the struggle is not that people set their goals too high, it’s that they make the end goal the only marker of accomplishment. If your goal is to read 52 books in a year, then by the time you are six weeks in and still on your second book, you may feel like you have already lost and then give up. So how do we set goals that we can achieve?
Many experts suggest that when you do set goals, you create S.M.A.R.T. goals:
Be Specific. What are you trying to accomplish? Is it that you want to be healthier or that you want to lose weight? Do you want to feel closer to God, or do you want to pray more? All are good goals, but the more specific, the more opportunities you have for success.
Choose goals that are Measurable. Weight loss is an easy one, but how do you gauge if you are getting smarter, if that is your goal? Come up with clear markers of which way the needle is moving on your goal and gauge your success not by the end point, but the journey to get there.
Create goals that are Attainable. If your hope is perfection, you will always fall short. If your goal is improvement, there is so much more opportunity for success.
If you really want to change, make sure the change is something that matters to you. People do not change until they find a reason to. If your goal is Relevant to you, if it is your desire, you are a 1000% more likely to achieve it, than if you are doing it for others or because you “should”.
Finally, make sure your goals are Time Bound. What is a rational time to accomplish what you are trying to do? This is where google can come in handy. How long does it take most people to learn to ride a unicycle? Know yourself. Give yourself enough time, while not leaving it open-ended.
The truth is that we could all use a little improvement in our lives. The challenge is how to do this in such a way that we both set ourselves up for success and find the way to make the changes sustainable.
One last bit of advice. If you, like me, may have already faded from your 2020 aspirations, maybe it is time to reevaluate, make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T., and get back out there.
You’ve got this.