We’ve all done it. We set a New Year’s resolution and held onto it for a few weeks like a cowboy on a bucking bull, only to land face down in the dirt. It’s not that we don’t want the resolutions we’re thinking about on January 1st. We just don’t have a plan or strategy in place for turning our resolutions into results. And, without a plan and strategy, we end up making the same resolution next year.
French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said it best.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Too often, that’s all our goals are. At best, they are wishes. It’s why New Year’s resolutions fail at such a high rate. In a January 2021 article, Inc. Magazine cited a study that said 91 percent of people who make resolutions will fail. They’re even able to predict when the failure will occur… on January 19th, dubbed “Quitter’s Day.”
I was one of the 91 percent for years. Then I decided I wanted to shift gears and become a nine-percenter. To get there, I began researching the habits and patterns of people who successfully reach their goals. Digging in and looking at multiple strategies for achieving goals, I created a powerful goal-setting tool.
This tool is based on some common threads that were woven into the strategies of all people who create results:
Their goals are specific. These individuals set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Those goals are:
- Specific: Well-defined and clear – you know what the goal is and what success looks like
- Measurable: Includes the ability to measure progress towards completion of the goal
- Achievable: Attainable, not impossible to achieve, but should stretch you a bit as well
- Relevant: Aligned with your WHY, purpose, and passions
- Timely: Includes a clearly defined timeline, with a starting date and a target date
Their goals are driven by purpose and passion. People who achieve results have created goals that are aligned with what naturally lights them up. Some call this their purpose or passion. Dr. John Demartini refers to this as your highest value. No matter how you name it, people who achieve their goals do so because those goals are aligned with what they value most in life. And, because they value it so much, they require less motivation to work toward those goals. As Demartini shares, the more motivation you require to achieve your goal, the less likely you will be to make it a reality.
They know how achieving their goal will make them feel. Think about one of your goals. Then, close your eyes and imagine what it will look like and feel like to achieve that goal. When you visualize what success looks like and focus on it, you increase the likelihood of it becoming real. Think about the person you want to become when you achieve your goal. What does that person look like, how do they show up, what does their day look like? Mirror that as much as possible and start moving in that direction.
They have people in place to hold them accountable. If you believe you can achieve your goals without someone else holding you accountable, you are lying to yourself. The person who is disciplined enough to do the work and stay consistent over time, not deviating to the left or the right of the path they’re on, is super rare. When you study individuals who achieve their goals, every single one of them has surrounded themselves with others who serve as their guardrails, keeping them on course and out of the ditches.
They keep their goals visible and revisit them daily. Most goals are achieved through daily repetition, habits, and small things done consistently. To stay locked in daily on what those small things are, and to stay consistent, one must consistently look at their goals. Keep them out where you can see them. Review them when you wake up and before you go to bed. Set reminders on your phone. Do whatever it takes to keep your goals front and center. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself distracted, and your focus will quickly get hijacked.
I have been using the goal-setting tool I am sharing with you here for the past three years. And, over the course of the last three years, I have turned my goals into reality. I launched the Grit Meets Growth podcast two years ago, and last year I successfully completed the 75 Hard program and my first trek into Nepal. None of this happens without this goal-setting tool and the strategies I unlocked above in my research. Now, it’s your turn.
Become a nine-percenter. As you approach your goals for the new year, set yourself up for success by asking the right questions and setting your goals the right way. This is your chance to break the cycle of failed New Year’s resolutions and do things differently in 2023. I’m excited to keep doing that for myself and to share this with you here!
Ready for more?
Follow me here for more insights just like this one as you begin working on your goals! You can also listen in to my Grit Meets Growth podcast here or on your favorite podcast platforms. Episodes are also available on YouTube.