How are those goals you set on New Year’s going for you?
I hope you’re knocking it out of the park and taking small steps towards progress daily. But if you’re not, you’re not alone.
34 percent of people give up on their New Year’s goals after the first month. After 6 months, 54 percent have fallen off track and given up.
That’s a 92 percent failure rate, which is pretty sickening and disheartening when you think about it.
Why is that? Because setting goals on New Year’s Eve, or any other day for that matter, can’t be done arbitrarily in the mind.
2 Elements have to be present in order for your goals to stick.
#1: The Will
This is the motivational and emotional aspect of the behavior change. In other words, the will is the WHY of behavior change.
So let’s clarify the WHY when it comes to the goals that you’re thinking about. Answer these questions.
Why is the behavior change important to you?
Why do you want to change?
If you don’t have the answers to those 3 questions, that goal will not work. The will the motivation to do it won’t be there because it’s not personal to anything.
#2: The Way
This refers to the how or the behaviors you will use to execute on the goal.
How is this behavior change going to unfold? What skills and capacities does it require? What is the specific plan for doing it?
Any goal requires a why and a how.
Why comes from the dopamine center of the brain. The how is the executive functioning or prefrontal cortex of the brain, the frontal lobe. You need both these parts of the brain engaged to achieve a goal.
You can’t have a why without knowing how you’re going to get it done.
And you can’t have the how, the world’s greatest plan if you have no why, no motivation to do it.
You need both.
Take a step back and reset. Take the time to discover your will AKA your “why” and develop a plan, AKA as the how or the way.
As you gain insight, allow yourself to modify your goals.
Goals are not only for Jan 1. They are for any day you really want to live your dream.
After you’ve got the WILL and the WAY, focus on using these 6 skills to move forward on your goals.
#1. You have to be consistent – not perfect – start again. You have to keep showing up.
#2. Learn. Changing and doing new things takes time. You need repetition because your brain forgets things. It’s terrible at storing information. The brain’s real job is to process information and let it go – not to store information.
#3. Pick yourself up. There will be times when you feel like it’s just not working, that it’s hard. No matter the goal, you need to learn the skill of picking yourself up.
#4. Be creative and find a way(s) to make things easy.
#5. Practice patience. Even when you’re doing the things, it doesn’t mean you reach your goal immediately. Goals are about change and change takes time.
#6. Be curious. Ask questions. Be willing to get help and support when you don’t know what to do next, especially when you can’t get out of the overwhelm and overthinking.
Wrapping It Up
What you focus on matters. It’s always our default to focus on the result. But what if we gave the journey to a goal more attention? Focus on enjoying the progression towards the destination. When you do this, working toward a goal can be a more powerful source of happiness and growth than hitting it.