Happy New Year to all!
I purposely am not posting the standard, “New Year, New Resolutions” drivel that many PF’ers like to put out this time of year. I’m not sure about the actual number, but I’ve heard 8% as the number of successful New Year’s resolutions. I’ll freely admit that math was never my best subject, but that number sounds a lot like 92% of all resolutions fail.
Why do they fail? Who knows? Maybe because a lot of resolutions are unrealistic, maybe because they are done in connection to a huge party, or maybe because people just don’t have the strength of will to stick to something. What I do know is that setting a resolution to do something for the new year almost never works.
“But Wil, its tradition. It’s something to aspire to. Why do you want to spoil our fun?” I’m all for tradition, but I don’t think I’m ready to make the leap and say that writing down a list of future failures is a good tradition. Don’t get me wrong, I never said anything about being against setting goals, and I’m the last one to try and spoil someone else’s fun. I think fun is a worthy pursuit for everybody. My concern is that most resolutions come in few flavors: Financial, Health, Self-Improvement, or Heart. Each of these things is too important to play games with, and each is too important to risk guaranteeing failure.
Besides, since calendars are pretty much arbitrary, why do we have to wait for a specific day to decide to improve our lives? Why can’t we say that we want a better deal today? The answer: We don’t, and we can (should).
Goals, in order to be successful, need to be specific, realistic, written, and urgent. Without one of these ingredients, you increase your risk of failure. So when you are thinking of a goal, make it all of these three things, and you will find that you have done more than write a goal, you have written a game-plan to follow in order to make it so.
Think of school: Before you write an essay, teachers will tell you to start by brainstorming. Then, they will have you order your brainstorm in the form of an outline. Once you have an outline, all you have to do is write it in complete sentences. When you do this, you pass more often than not. This is very similar to how to develop attainable goals. Instead of saying, “I want to be rich”, how about “I want to be able to put away $1,500 in a savings account for Christmas presents by December 1st”? This goal is specific, realistic (you are basically saying you want to save about $60.00 every two weeks), and urgent (by December 1st, for Christmas).
So, develop goals, and make sure you have a plan when you do. This way, when you make these goals, you will gain confidence in the accomplishment and will be able to go for more aggressive goals as time goes on.