Millions of people make New Year's Resolutions each year. However, according to the website ProactiveChange.com, only 75% of people making resoluctions make it past the first week of January, only 64% make it past the month of January and only 46% of people manage to follow their resolution for 6 months.
The site further explains that the more specific the resolution, the higher your chance of following through. People that make specific resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals.
Understanding the reasons goals don't work can help you formulate your goal to increase the likelihood of following through and making positive change in your life.
Reason One: Goals are over-ambitious.
Goals are not dreams but too often, our goals develop from our dreams rather than from our reality. For example, if you suffer from social anxiety do you have dreams of walking into a crowded room, feeling comfortable, talking to different people, making new friends and having a wonderful time? Is this a dream or is this a goal?
Goals need to be realistic and based on our individual situation. The above scenario may be a goal, but only if you break it down into steps. Your first goal may be to follow a treatment plan for social anxiety. The next step may be to talk with people we meet in a non-threatening situation. As you see, we can break down a large scale goal into small sections, making each section a goal in itself. Once you have accomplished the first step, you can move on to the next. But working with a vague, large-scale goal more often than not brings on disappointment and feelings of failure.
Reason Two: Goals are based on what you think you should want, not what you actually want.
How often do you base your wants on what other people have or on what other people believe you should have? For example, if your anxiety is holding you back from working right now and well-intentioned friends and relatives are telling you "you just need to get a job and get out of the house" does this become your goal?
Instead of basing your wants on what other people feel or what you see other people doing, base your goals on your individual situation. You have a better chance of following through and making a goal happen if it is based on your life and your needs.
Reason Three: Goals are not specific enough
Many years ago, someone told me, "Goals without a plan are simply wishes." (I would be glad to credit that person if I could just remember who said it to me.) This is so very true.
Goals must include a call for action and a plan of action. Having the goal of, "I want to get a job" is much different than, "I plan on getting a part-time job and continuing with my treatment. Once I have managed that, I will work on getting a full-time job." The second calls on you to complete something specific and makes full time employment a secondary goal, one to be considered only after the first two goals are met. This goal provides a sequence of events that should happen.
Once you have decided on your goal for the upcoming year, write it down and list all of the steps necessary to make your goal happen. Each step should be a goal in itself and the second step should not be considered until the first step is completed. Taking these steps will change your wish into a goal.
Published On: December 30, 2008