It’s February. Most of you are not staying true to your New Year’s resolutions. Many of you may have forgotten what they are. The excitement of the holidays is over (with the exception of Valentine’s Day) and now might be the best time to start some goal setting. You aren’t caught up in all of the anticipation of the New Year and the shine of Christmas presents. You are in the middle of the coldest month of the year. New Year’s resolutions often times are nothing more than fictions we tell ourselves. While they do tend to come from a place of good intention, perhaps setting goals later in the year is more effective.
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they go against the grain of daily life. They are goals that are disruptive and require a lot of maintenance to become habits, particularly in the lives of busy professionals. To reach those goals, we must develop habits to chip away at them. While good habits are difficult to incorporate into life[i], many people do not even know how to properly set goals to begin with.
Often, resolutions fail because goals are set too high.
I will exercise 5 times per week.
I will write that novel.
I will learn plumbing this year.
For people who have never done a thing in the past, setting a lofty goal and trying to reach it from the first day of the year is very challenging. Rather, it is beneficial to rethink how we set goals to increase the probability that they become habitual. Below are a couple of methods that can help you.
For linear and straightforward thinkers, marketing consultant James Grubisich suggests the following:
- A goal should be well considered. Spend half an hour writing out your reasons for setting the goal, then revisit what you’ve written a couple days later.
- Make goals strategic, have a plan to help you make regular progress toward your goal.
- If the goal is part of a larger strategy, understand what that larger strategy is.
- Plot a detailed timeline for achieving that goal.
- Follow through with a written timeline of your progress in reaching the goal.
For those that need a more conceptual strategy, Dr. Kelly Page of the University of Illinois at Chicago recommends:
- Make goals visual, such as drawing them or listing them in a creative way.
- Give yourself boundaries, such as a timeline to achieve that goal or the context of the goal (is it business related? A personal goal?)
- Record reflections on why the goal is important.
- Incorporate those reflections as reminders into your life with notes, mementoes, or pop-ups on your phone.
- Break big goals into manageable tasks scheduled throughout the year with a checklist to keep you motivated.
Here at Toho Technology, we are preparing for the year ahead as well. We are planning, working together, and strategizing about how to best use our time and money, and we are excited for the rest of 2017.
So what is your plan for 2017? How will you improve yourself? How will you make the world better? Set goals that are big, but break them into small pieces and understand why you are doing them. And have fun! Resolutions should ultimately bring you joy as you carry them out.