The beginning of the year is a good time to reflect on personal and professional achievements, as well as to set goals for next year.
However, there are few people who fulfill their purposes. According to experts, the reason behind these failures is that most of us lack the structure to support the changes in behavior that new goals require.
So follow these six tricks to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions:
Limit the number of goals
Social psychologist Chris Berdik says he makes a short list of purposes every year, and says the reason why so many of us fail to fulfill them is because they are too many.
Putting too many demands on our willpower causes us to lose the goal and throw in the towel prematurely due to frustration.
By choosing fewer goals, there are fewer opportunities to feel that we are failing, as well as fewer demands for our will power.
Although writing goals is a well-used technique, since it forces a deeper level of commitment, sports psychologist Michael Gervais recommends going one step further and writing down the things that could hinder the fulfillment of these goals.
“This is where you start to identify the thoughts that prevent you from daring,” he says.
If you set a goal of, for example, calling 20 prospects a day but you fear rejection, accept those fears and think how you can turn negative thoughts into positives.
Set realistic goals
“The people who set the most effective goals are those who find the midpoint between overwhelming and uninteresting,” says Gervais.
While a goal that is too small will not create enough load, a too large goal can make us feel overwhelmed.
If you set a very ambitious purpose, divide it into smaller, more realistic pieces, with detailed plans on how to achieve those micro-goals throughout the year.
Find a partner
“When my wife and I have the same goals, we fulfill them better than when we have individuals,” says Berdik. Find people who share your goal and motivate each other to fulfill it.
Make your goals tangible
Instead of saying “I’m going to follow a healthy diet,” Gervais says that you set a tangible goal like “I’m going to eat a vegetable at every meal.”
This gives the brain a visual goal to work towards.
“We create images in our minds that provide direction for future behavior,” says Gervais.
Decide on a general theme for next year
What will 2014 be about for you? Maybe it can be the year of the balance, or of health, or perhaps of achievements.
Decide with a word that will become the theme of what will propel you through the 12 months and create a mind map that connects your goals to that general idea.
“We want to create a focused energy, so we can use our daily energy resource towards that issue,” says Gervais.