If like me you survived the 12.12.12 apocalypse and other end-of-year disasters, then congratulations on being around to see in a brand new year!
But joking aside, it’s officially the end of the first week of 2013 and millions of us will now be setting goals (and very likely breaking) our New Year’s Resolutions. Why is this?
Each year we set goals and resolutions with the best of intentions to change our lives – lose weight, quit smoking, start a business, be a better parent, find our soul mate and so on. Yet just as easily, the majority of us break our vows within a few short weeks.
Perhaps the problem lies in the word itself. How many of us can emotionally connect with a “resolution”?
I know I can’t.
SMART Goals Just Don’t Work…
And even if our goals follow the S.M.A.R.T school of thought, in other words they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, many of us still struggle to keep to them.
In anticipation of doing things differently this year, I recently read the fantastic “Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Business and Leadership Consultant Mark Murphy.
Murphy has an interesting take on why SMART goals can only get you so far which I’d like to share with you. Apparently, what we really, really need are H.A.R.D goals – heartfelt, animated, required and difficult ones.
Not convinced? Take a look at these #4 ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions and reach your goals in 2013.
#1 Get Emotional
According to Murphy, having an emotional connection to your goal is critical for success. Regardless whether you want to lose weight, quit smoking or launch a new venture, you need to switch the way you approach your goals. Essentially, if you don’t feel absolutely compelled to achieve the goal, you will most likely not accomplish it and may even abandon it altogether.
So let’s imagine you want to lose weight. Rather than telling yourself that you really ought to reduce that muffin top, it’s far more effective to commit to shedding those excess pounds because of the extra energy you’ll have when playing with your kids. Or how great you’ll feel when you can get into that new suit or wedding dress. See the difference?
Goals such as spending quality time with your family help you connect to your deeper motivation, or your WHY, and increase the chances of you reaching your objective.
#2 Make It Visual
Many goal-setting books encourage you to focus on percentiles, numbers and statistics but as visual beings it’s actually very difficult for many of us to connect emotionally with numbers. And again, it’s this emotional connection that is the secret to success.
That’s why Murphy recommends using visual representations of our goals in the form of images, graphs and charts and adding them to a vision board.
Now vision boards are not new but the important thing is seeing your vision board and thereforeyour goals every day.
It’s therefore essential that you place the vision board in a prominent place and view it daily in order to remind yourself of your goals and cement them in your subconscious. If you’re a business owner you can also involve your employees in the process.
There are many ways to create a vision board. You could create a PowerPoint presentation with relevant photos, quotes and images. Or you could use a cork board and pin images to it and hang it in your office, bedroom or somewhere you know you will see it every day.
Better still, why not try the 21st century equivalent and use Pinterest? You could create a new Pinterest board and name it Vision Board, My Goals or Plans For 2013.
Just remember that the Pinterest board will be public so if you don’t want prying eyes to see your plans, make it private by using Pinterest’s new secret boards feature.
Create a new board as you usually would via the ADD tab on your Pinterest page but be sure to move the slider to ON in the options as in the image below.
Then add images that represent the goals you want to achieve.
#3 Set Tight Deadlines
Ditch the 5 year plan and make your goals closer in time and more specific. Want to earn six figures this year? Then think in terms of 6-month, 3-month, and 1-month goals along with weekly and daily targets such as generating $5,000 this week or making 10 sales calls a day.
Reframing your goals in this way will help you create a sense urgency and allow you to focus solely on the task in hand rather than a long-term plan. This means that every action you take counts and helps you build momentum.
#4 Stretch Yourself
Surprisingly, Murphy found that one of the biggest failures behind SMART action plans is that people often set their sights too low. Apparently, mediocre, unimportant and realistic goals just don’t inspire us, which is why we give up.
On the other hand, tough challenges help us learn, stretch and grow to become bigger, better versions of ourselves.
Each time we strike out for something that we think is out of reach, we generate tremendous energy that helps us achieve our more ambitious goals. And as Murphy says, once we’ve done the impossible, we can do it again
Approach Your Goals Differently
So this year, as you evaluate what you want to achieve in 2013 , why not take a different approach towards your New Year resolutions?
Make your goals as difficult as possible and set objectives that are absolutely essential to your continued well-being. Such ambitious goals will actively engage you and focus your mind. Who knows you might even surprise yourself!
How do you set and keep your New Year’s Resolutions? What do you do to give yourself and your business the edge? Please comment and share below.