New Years Resolutions vs Goals
We are five days into the new decade, and there is a lot of talk about New Year's resolutions. The problem with these great promises of improvements, whether it be about saving money, getting fit, reading more, or drinking less - they don't stick.
Research indicates that the failure rate for New Year's resolutions is about 80 per cent, and that most fail by mid-February. That leaves ten and a half month with one's old habits! The problem with resolutions is that they tend to be vague and drastic, and without any thoughts of how to be achieved. That's why I'd argue that goals are better to make lasting change. Or better yet - written goals.
Writing down your goals increases the chances of achieving them by 42 per cent. And if you make them SMART, even higher! What are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. Analysing and formulating your goal against these criteria will trigger the process of your brain to plan how to achieve the goal.
"I will get fit in 2020."
"In 2020, I will go to the gym three times a week, make sure I eat two vegetables every day and limit my sweet intake to once a week. Holidays are an exception, however, I will then do sun salutations or walk 10,000 steps a day."
The difference between these two statements is significant. The SMART goal is specific (mentions how I will get fitter), measurable (I can measure on a weekly basis if I've achieved this), achievable (it's not too far from my current habits, yet it pushes me to improve), realistic (I've planned for holidays, which is when I normally fail to keep up), time-bound (it's clearly stated what's required on a daily and weekly basis).
If you want to improve in the year ahead, I'd encourage you to choose one or two goals, and make them SMART. Write it down and place it where you can see it every day. Don't give up if you miss a week here or a day there! Get back on track and you will start seeing results in terms of lasting habits.