The New Year is already a few days old and so are most of our resolutions. With some it works so great and with others we just do not want to succeed and fail to follow through. Why is that? Some goals cheer us; they are part of a larger whole for us, part of our vision of life! Others, on the other hand, need a lot more overcoming – and it looks like we just won’t succeed.
If certain topics are on our list of priorities year after year, then we should think about what the reason for this might be:
- Wrong time? Let’s say if I plan a winter half marathon next year in February, it only makes sense if my training schedule starts from now on. If things are too far away we tend to ignore and forget – so you better set yourself small intermediate sub-goals. It has to be specific and planned in detail.
- Wrong goal? Some goals we don’t accomplish because we pursue them for the wrong reasons. Do you really pursue the goal for yourself, or do you want to impress someone else with it? This question clarifies some of the goals that we pursue only half-heartedly. And it can feel really liberating to give up such a goal! (It’s mental focus and energy you have now for other things!)
- Wrong goal formulation? Not only should you look at rewarding yourself for accomplishing goals – even better would be if you see the goal achievement itself as a reward. In some cases this means reformulating from negative goals (away from something) to positive goals (towards something). For example, instead of trying to quit smoking, focus on wanting to regain physical condition and no longer be out of breath whenever you take stairs to the fifth floor somewhere.
- Wrong approach? Goals such as “I want more / xx more often this year …” are far too unclear. It is better to commit to a measurable size, e.g. how often you do it every month from now on.
- Goal too large? It is better to divide big and / or long-term goals into small intermediate goals, so you will have many small successes to celebrate on the way to the big aim!
Write (or save) your list of intentions at a place where you will be reminded of the status of your goal. A post-it in the agenda (of course glued a few weeks into the future) or just an Outlook reminder in the next quarter. Did you know that, according to a Harvard study, we are about 3 times more likely to achieve them, if we write them down?
Try to formulate your goals in a positive way, it will help you stick to them!
Make sure you enjoy the road along your way to achieve the goals and share them with an accountability partner.“Enjoyment predicted people’s goal persistence…far more than how important they rated their goal to be.” HBR
A goal is a dream with a deadline. Do you have your dream and need support along the way to achieve it? Let’s talk and see if I can be your sparring partner!
He original version of this article was published 2018 in German in the print and online business journal for women “Die Wirtschaftsfrau”. This is a modified, longer version of the original.
Books that inspired and influenced me on the topic of following through.