Making new year’s resolutions? Set yourself up for success with these top tips

Making new year’s resolutions? Set yourself up for success with these top tips

Whether it’s finding a new job or getting a payrise,
if you want to achieve your goals in 2014 it’s all about preparation

Lyndsey Oliver Guardian Professional, Tuesday 31 December 2013 

Many of us will be making new year’s resolutions this year, but few will actually stick to them.

A survey out last month from Psychologies magazine revealed that 71% of us had already determined our new year’s resolutions by the first week of November, yet only 11% believed that they would stick to the changes they are planning. While nearly a third of the respondents said that they’ve made new year’s resolutions in the past, 68% admitted to abandoning their plans in January.

New year’s resolutions can be achieved. If you want to make positive changes to your life – either personally or professionally – you need to ensure you set yourself up for success. Here are my top five tips:

1.) Make goals personal, positive and present. Many people talk about SMART goals being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. While this is right on track, making them personal, positive and present will also help because it will help to convince your brain that you have already achieved your goal. In a small but significant way, by making your goals personal, positive and present you are already becoming what you want to achieve.

2.) Map out small, actionable steps – then celebrate success along the way. Goals can be intimidating if you try to tackle the end at the beginning. It actually can take many steps to achieve a goal. If you set yourself a series of small milestones on the way, you can celebrate the realisation of each step, which will also make it much more likely that you will actually achieve your ultimate goal.

3.) If you have more than one resolution, focus on the one that will give the biggest reward. Many of us set ourselves up with a number of goals going into the New Year. Instead of stretching yourself too thin, focus on the one area that will give you the biggest reward as often it will also have a positive impact on other areas of our life as an additional benefit. For example, if your goal is to become fit and healthy, if we eat well and exercise we often feel better about ourselves. When we feel better about ourselves we often become more confident. When we are more confident we have greater levels of self-belief… you get the picture.

4.) Identify other people who can help you achieve your goal. All of us need help achieving our goals. Whether that’s enlisting the positivity of a supportive friend or identifying the key stakeholders and influencers that will help us get that promotion, new role or pay rise. Share your goals with other people and you’re 33% more likely to achieve them. The key is to make sure the person you share your goal with is someone you trust and is a supporter rather than a detractor.

5.) Learn to navigate any hurdles along the way There will often be barriers to achieving our goals. Know that they exist and think up front about devising strategies to get around them. People often say they don’t have enough time to devote to change. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and everyone has the same amount. It’s about making time. Start with five or 10 minutes that you set aside to work on your goal. Then protect that time however you need to make sure it is preserved and uninterrupted. Don’t let hurdles trip you up, be committed to find practical ways to circumvent them to achieve your goals.

Lyndsey Oliver is co-founder of gender balance consultancy Female Quotient

source: The Guardian

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