We’re now a week into the New Year. How are you doing on your big goals and resolutions?
If you’re still on track, congratulations! If you’re not, well… you’re not alone.
According to a 2007 study by professor and psychologist Richard Wiseman, 88 percent of people who make New Year resolutions fail to keep them.
Does that mean you should just give up now? Not necessarily.
New Year’s resolutions have some inherent problems, not the least of which is the fact that many are made with as much thought as one gives when dropping a coin into a wishing well. I’d like that to happen… but I have to change my behavior? Oh… nevermind.
Hey, we’ve all done it. I’d be very interested in knowing how many resolutions in the original study fell into that category.
Even when you’re serious about your goals, though, it’s an uphill climb to achieve them. (Long before twerking, Miley had a great song about that.)
Here are three very simple (and familiar) words that will help you persist and prevail on the journey:
For those of us who are “doers” and “achievers,” focus is an important word… because we’re prone to the opposite.
Instead of getting focused, we get distracted… again and again and again. There’s so much we want to do!
In one of my previous jobs, I had a poster hanging behind my desk with the ancient proverb, “If you chase two rabbits, both will get away.” I still remind myself of that quote today.
When it comes to your goals and resolutions, you have to let go of the desire to transform your entire life or business at once. It’s what you want to do, I know, but choose the one thing that will have the biggest impact on your life right now.
It might help to think about it like this:
If I could only achieve one goal this year, I would want it to be ___________.
It’s much better to succeed in one endeavor than to fail in 20.
So what is the one goal or resolution that’s at the top of your list for this year?
Now that you’re focused on one specific goal, it’s time to focus on one step you can take (right now) toward achieving that goal, which brings us to…
Another reason we fail to achieve our goals or keep our resolutions is because we never break them down into simple steps.
When you say, “I want to lose 15 pounds,” or, “I want to start a blog,” for example, what you have is a project… and projects always seem so complicated and overwhelming.
The key to completing your “project” is breaking it down into simple, actionable tasks. (Simplicity is one of the three elements in the Fogg Behavior Model by Dr. BJ Fogg at Stanford University.)
At any given moment, you need to be able to ask yourself — and answer: What is the next step I can take toward [insert goal here]?
If you don’t know the next simple step, then it’s very likely that you’ll do nothing. The time and energy you could have invested in your project (goal) will be spent trying to figure out what you should do… and then that moment’s gone.
Ever been there? I have.
So let’s go back to the “start a blog” example and look at how we might break that down into simple steps. Perhaps:
- Decide on a domain name.
- Register domain name at GoDaddy.com.
- Purchase hosting at HostGator.com.
- Connect domain name to hosting account.
- Install WordPress on hosting account.
What are the next five steps — individual, one-step action items — that you can take toward your chosen goal?
Now, when a moment to work on your goal presents itself, you know exactly what you need to do, which brings us to…
This is where the rubber meets the road. You’re focused. You know what you need to do. Now do it!
But this is where our old friend procrastination often enters. I’m too tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. Next week will be better.
I love this quote from Napoleon Hill: “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with and observing people who have done remarkable things. Do you know the one thing I’ve found that they all have in common? Action.
Successful people rarely have the best ideas. They rarely have the best circumstances. They just did — and kept doing — something.
If you want to do something remarkable, you have to do something.
So go back to your list of simple steps and ask, What is the “right thing, right now”? Do that.
One step at a time, one moment at a time.
It’s not sexy, but it’s a winning formula.
Are you ready for a great year ahead?
If you’re off to an awesome start, keep it up.
If not, it’s okay. This moment — every moment — is an opportunity to turn it all around.
Beware of the traps of distraction, complexity and procrastination and instead, choose focus, simplicity and execution. Those three words will provide a powerful boost to help you charge toward your goals, so when December 31 rolls around, you can look back and say, “Wow! This is the year I finally did it!”