I read an article recently stating that 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions are not met. I wasn’t surprised by that figure because of two very common facts:
• Accomplishing the goal is usually more difficult than we think it will be; and
• We rarely ask for help from others who can support us.
For years, I’ve shared the benefits of writing goals that are specific, measurable, and trackable, whether it’s around weight control, nutrition, or some form of exercise. In other words, you need to be able to keep score periodically to see how you are progressing.
Once you have determined a health goal, write it down. Many times when people are setting personal goals, they think about what they want to do but they don’t write anything down. If you can’t make the effort to write it down, you probably won’t be committed enough to actually change a behavior.
Write each goal on a separate sheet of paper and read each goal every day. It won’t do you any good to write something down and file it away. When you read your goal statements each day, you remind yourself of your priorities and can match your behavior to meet the goals—or adjust your behavior if your goals are not being met. This simple process will help you be accountable for your own goal achievement. I read my goals first thing in the morning, just to get my day off to the right start and get myself in the right frame of mind.
Next, it is important to diagnose your level of competence and commitment. In other words, do you have the skills and motivation to accomplish your goals? The reason most resolutions don’t work is after you announce them, everyone important in your life laughs and says, “I’ll believe it when I see it”—then they go to a leave alone/delegating leadership style. That kind of non-support and non-direction just won’t work.
Suppose you want to focus on weight control and nutrition but you haven’t been very good at that in the past. You are an enthusiastic beginner and need to find a knowledgeable person to provide the direction and support you need to stay on track. You may need different helpers for different goals because you want to choose people who will offer the right combination of direction and support for you. For example, if you set a goal to exercise three times a week, find a friend who is already dedicated to exercising and is willing to join you at the gym instead of one who rarely laces up walking shoes.
Be systematic about checking in with your helpers. Set up a specific time each week to talk about how you are progressing. This can be as simple as a ten-minute phone call or a quick text, or you can use the check-in as a way to get face to face. How you get together doesn’t matter—what you talk about is the biggest factor that will keep you on track toward achieving your goals. I often ask people, “What is the best diet?” Of course, the answer is “The one you stick with.” Think of these check-in meetings as the way to stick to your plan.
So, don’t fall into that 92 percent failure group. Set yourself up for success by setting your goals, diagnosing your development level, and surrounding yourself with helpers who will provide the right amount of direction and support to help you flourish throughout the year!
PHOTO: Breakfast hike at Rancho La Puerta
Dr. Ken Blanchard is the co-founder and chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, an international management training and consulting firm that he and his wife, Margie Blanchard, began in 1979 in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous best-selling books including, The One Minute Manager®, co-authored with Spencer Johnson, which has sold more than 13 million copies and remains on best-seller lists. This post originally appeared on his blog here.