The start of a new year usually comes with some nostalgia and a fair dose of hope for a better year than the last. As we ponder upon our failures and victories of 2017, most of us begin to set expectations for 2018. These expectations for the new year are what inspire our new year’s resolutions. If you haven’t set goals for 2018, it is never too late to start! If you're on the fence about whether to set goals or not, this article is for you!
It’s January and all anyone can talk about is what their goals are for 2018. This is the year your best friend is finally going to lose 20 lbs. Your sibling is finally going to quit their job and start a company of their own. Your co-worker is finally going to commit to being a vegetarian for life. We are surrounded by people excited to tell us all about their goals and the future they want to build for themselves. But what about you? What are your goals? Should you even have goals? It seems like often times, people lose enthusiasm toward their goals after only a couple of weeks. Despite the fact that 40% of people fail their goal within the first month of working towards it, we think you should still set one.
The Case for Setting Goals
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” -Wayne Gretzky
Statistics show that the average person is more likely to fail to achieve their new year's goals than to successfully achieve them. But consider this: You are not the average person, because here you are reading about goal setting and how to succeed!
So why set a goal for 2018? The answer is very simple. A goal gives you direction on how to make decisions. Without a goal, your decisions are based on nothing more than what you are feeling at that moment.
Who is more likely to do 20 push-ups every morning? Someone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle or someone who sets a goal to do 20 push-ups every morning? We are betting on the person with the goal.
How to Fail to Achieve Your Goal
Why is it that so many people fail to achieve the goals that they make for the new year?
The number one reason why a person fails to achieve their goals is because their goals are not specific enough. For example, let's say you decide that your goal for 2018 is to become famous. Is this a good goal?
We would argue - no. Becoming famous is not a good goal because being famous is not specific enough. How will you know when you have achieved fame? When you air on a local news station? When you get your verified tag on Instagram? Or when you can no longer walk down street without being followed by paparazzi? Having a vague goal will only give you a vague idea of what you want to achieve. You want to give yourself the satisfaction of knowing for a fact whether you hit your target at the end of the year or not. Otherwise, you may as well be on a road trip with no destination.
Here's some examples of vague goals that can be made more specific and measurable:
Vague - "I want to learn to speak Spanish."
Specific & Measurable - "I want to have a 30 minute Skype call with a fluent Spanish speaker before the end of the year."
Vague - "I want to get in shape this year."
Specific & Measurable - "I want to run a marathon in under 6 hours this year."
Vague - "I want to eat healthier this year."
Specific & Measurable - "I want to eat 1 vegetarian meal a day."
How to Succeed in Achieving Your Goal
The first step to successfully achieving a goal is to set a specific goal.
Don’t set a goal to lose weight (vague). Set a goal to lose 10 lbs. (specific & measurable). Another way to up your chances of achieving your goals is to set only one goal. Having too many goals spreads your focus and enthusiasm too thin. Plus, trying to become vegan, 170 lbs., Instagram verified, and finish all the seasons of Game of Thrones is asking a lot of yourself.
Think of trying to start a fire with only some dry logs and the sun. The sun’s energy would never be focused enough on the dry logs to catch them on fire. However, by using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s energy, it becomes rather easy to start a fire on the dry logs. Your energy and enthusiasm is like the sun - if you are focusing your energy and enthusiasm on one specific goal, you are much more likely to succeed.
Now don’t think that having a specific goal, and laser focus is going to get the job done. The last thing you will need to succeed is a plan. Great execution doesn’t happen by accident. Give yourself the tools you need to succeed and make a plan for how you aim to achieve your new year’s goal!