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The Psychology Of Goal Setting: Making Resolutions Stick - Part One

0882930001569960187.jpgThe statistics aren't pretty.  Nearly four in ten of us make New Year's resolutions and research from the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% manage to keep them. So what's the motivated, well-intended resolution-maker to do?


Yes, strategize.

Goal-setting hinges on two equally important aspects: planning and follow-through. Scrimp on either one and your goals could suffer. Do them right, and whether your goal is physical fitness, relationship enhancement, or financial stability, you can achieve it. This post will focus on the planning aspect. Stay tuned for a future blog on the final key to successful goal setting: follow-through.

You shoot yourself in the foot when you create lofty, vague, non-measurable goals. "Get healthy," "improve my relationships" and "get rich," for example, will not cut it. Instead, revise these laudable goals in such a way that they are achievable, specific, and objective.

Weight loss, for example, is a common New Year's resolution, and its estimated failure rate is a whopping 80%Eighty percent. Most of the people who fail at weight loss goals had either a very loose plan or no plan at all. They start out strong and fizzle in a month or two.

But not you. You're different, and you're smart. You're going to arm yourself with the information you need to set goals that will come to fruition by the time you read this blog in 2018. Do you want to be fit? free of debt? happier? Here's how it's done.

First, make your goals achievable. Set a goal that seems just a smidgen beyond what you can handle right now. Give yourself a challenge, but don't set a goal so unrealistic that you doom yourself to failure. By challenging yourself, you'll feel great when you discover just what you're made of, and you will feel motivated to do even more.

Now that you've set an achievable goal, ensure that is specific. And by specific, I mean very specific. Make it detailed. Break it down. Instead of saying "I want to have great abs," try something like this. "I will complete 100 crunches daily, at least 5 days a week."

In addition to making your goal achievable and specific, it is vital that your goal is measurable. How will you know that you've achieved your goal? If you woke up tomorrow morning and your goal had been realized, how would you know?

In our "get great abs" example, perhaps you would notice that your waist size has decreased. Perhaps you are able to hold a plank position for five minutes without breaking a sweat. However you choose to measure your goal, make it clean-cut and objective. 

Finally, a bonus tip: when planning your New Year's resolutions, it is important that you write them down. You can type them into your phone or scrawl them in a notebook and you will be miles ahead when you give your goals physical form. 

Need some guidance in formulating your New Year's resolutions and making certain you achieve them? Let's talk. We'll work on it together. In the meantime, stay tuned for part 2 of this post on goal setting: follow through.

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