It feels like everyone is setting goals just in time for the New Year, but unfortunately most people never achieve their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, one study found that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually hit their goals!
With that in mind, here's a method that has worked for me when trying to reach my goals:
- Start with a big, compelling goal written down with a completion date.
- Then, break it down into smaller, more manageable (or believable) parts that can be measured or ‘supporting goals’ that also have completion dates. Main goals are usually two to five years in length and supporting goals are more like a few weeks or a few months.
- Tell someone who will be supportive and someone you can trust what your goal is and ask him or her to not only be encouraging but to hold you accountable. This helps because when the going gets tough (as we all know it will) that is the time when help from parents, friends, and mentors counts the most.
- Give yourself some reward for achieving those supporting goals. The idea is to measure progress and to make it as fun as possible. The more compelling the goal is, and the more fun the rewards are, the more likely you will succeed.
If this method sounds familiar, it’s because it is very similar to the way I work to help my students reach their martial arts goals. I believe martial arts is the perfect training ground for goal-setting, whether your goal is fitness, reducing stress or anything else you can think of.
In Martial Arts, the big goal is earning the Black Belt, which takes an average of four years of hard work and commitment. The colored belt ranks are the 'supporting goals' which can be achieved every three to six months along the way. The reward for passing the test of a supporting goal is a new belt rank and the new status it carries.Applying this same approach to the goals in your personal life will help to be successful in your coming goals and resolutions. I encourage you to spend some extra time in the next few days determining how you can define your checkpoints, who will help keep you accountable, and what the rewards will be for your celebrations along the way. Good luck and Happy New Year!