It’s that time of the year where gym memberships skyrocket, diet books fly off the shelf and people are most likely to quit their job. It’s new year’s resolution time! Unfortunately, research shows that by the end of January only 25% of resolutioners are still going after January 30th, and only 8% manage to stick to it for the entire year. In fact, according to data from Strava, the exercise tracking app, January 12th is the day when most people give up on their resolutions! The good news is, you’re probably still going strong! The bad news is, you’ve got about a week left until statistically, you’re most likely to give up. We thought we’d help so we’ve put together some goal setting tips to help you turn your new year’s resolutions into goals, and increase your chances of achieving them!
- Focus on the process and not the results
Goals which focus on the process have been shown to be more effective. Results based goals are harder to implement and cause discouragement more quickly.
Example: Not “I am going to lose/gain weight”, but “I am going to eat healthy meals”.
- Make it measurable
Make your goal tangible and measurable, track your progress, then adapt as you go along. Being able to see your progress keeps you motivated. Tracking also helps you see what’s working so that you can adapt your strategy as you go along.
Example: Not “I am going to eat healthy meals”, but “I want to eat 5 healthy meals a week”.
- Keep it simple
Make your goals as simple as possible while keeping it effective. In general humans bad at making decisions (this is why habits are so powerful, they’re automated decisions), especially when we’re tired, hungry or distracted. Create goals which are easy to remember and targeting them at a time when you’re most likely to have the willpower to follow through. Also, when setting goals it helps to describe the first, smallest step you need to take to complete that goal.
Example: Not “I want to eat 5 healthy meals a week” but “I’ll cook at home and only buy healthy ingredients for 5 meals a week”. Or “no shopping when I’m hungry and no unhealthy food when I’m shopping”.
- Stack habits
Combine new habits with existing habits. Habits are hard to build, but combining them with existing habit means you can build on the discipline you’ve already established. Start with a small goal and then increase it incrementally once you’ve built the habit.
Example: “I’m going to start with 1 healthy meal a week and increase it every week till I’m at 10 healthy meals per week.”
There you go, new years resolution no. 5 (sit down to write at least 1 blog post every weekend) is well on its way! What tools, tricks and tips do you use to set effective goals?