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Posts Tagged ‘goal attainment’
New Year’s Resolutions — and How to Keep Them

This New Year’s many of us are resolving to get healthy, get organized or save money.  Here are the top 5 New Year’s resolutions for 2012 (according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology):

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Stay Fit and Healthy

Yet despite our best intentions, within a few months many of us will fall back into old habits.  Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8% actually achieve them (Journal of Clinical Psychology).  How can you be part of the 8% and keep your resolutions?  Here are three steps for success:

Prepare

  • Make realistic, attainable goals and develop a specific action plan – Don’t just resolve to lose weight; set a goal to lose a specific number, say 20 pounds, and to drop a pound a week.
  • Establish confidence in your goals and publicly share your resolutions – The social pressure creates accountability, because you don’t want to report back about a failure.

Beginning

  • Track your progress regularly and reward success – For example, weigh yourself on a weekly basis and reward yourself with a manicure or facial for every five pounds lost.
  • Use slip-ups to strengthen your resolve – Avoid self-blame during times of weakness, but resolve to do even better.

Long-term

  • Cultivate social support – Find an accountability partner who will support you in your efforts to make lasting changes.
  • Create a plan to deal with slips – Stick with it.  We all fall victim to temptation.  The difference between successful resolvers and failed ones is the ability to bounce back from relapses.
  • Think of your goal as a marathon instead of a sprint – Remember it take three months for a change to become routine.
 
Staying Focused on Your Goals

Jessica set a goal at the beginning of the year to eat right and exercise more.  She joined a gym and started a new exercise program.  Jessica was motivated to lose those excess pounds she had gained over the holidays.  She exercised four times a week and made healthy eating choices.  Then just eight weeks into the New Year she was lucky to make it to the gym just once a week.  Work kept her so busy that she often ate on the run — gobbling down donuts and coffee for breakfast and fast food for lunch.  What happened to her motivation and determination to improve her health?

Jessica’s story is not uncommon.  Oftentimes we start out “gung ho” about our goals, but then lose momentum and motivation along the way.  How can you stay focused on your goals and priorities, whether they involve growing your business, strengthening your marriage or improving your health?  Here are tips to help you focus on your goals.

Visualize Success

Visualize the desired end result.  If, like Jessica, you want to lose weight, imagine yourself 20 pounds lighter.  Imagine how good you’ll look and feel in a bikini this summer.  If you want to earn a promotion to management, imagine yourself as a manager of employees.  Imagine yourself leading your team to success.

Review your Goals

Review your goals on a regular basis.  Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now helping me to achieve my goals?”  Always keep your goals in the forefront of your mind.  Review your progress.  What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?  Give yourself a pat on the back for making progress.

Work with an Accountability Partner or Coach

If you know you need to report your progress to someone else, you’re more likely to follow through.  By having an “accountability partner” you can help keep each other on track.  Choose someone who is also striving toward a goal.  Meet once a week to check in.  Share what you’ve accomplished in the past week and what step(s) you plan to take in the coming week to achieve your goal.

Better yet, hire a professional coach.  Coaches are trained to help you succeed.  They not only help you stay accountable, but also help you see the bigger picture, overcome obstacles by exploring different ways of doing things, and give encouragement and motivation to succeed.

Reward Yourself

Choose a reward for attaining your goal.  Be sure to choose a reward that is motivating and commensurate with the effort required to achieve the goal.  What is rewarding to you?  For one person it may be an elegant dinner out or a weekend getaway.  For another it may be a shopping spree at Nordstrom’s or a full-body massage.  Choose something that you’ll really look forward to, which will increase your motivation to succeed.

By visualizing success, reviewing your goals, working with a partner or coach, and rewarding yourself, you’ll stay motivated and focused on your goals.  Only by focusing on your goals will you actually attain them.  So keep on keeping on!

For more information on goal achievement, listen to my CD on How to Set and Attain Your Goals.

 
How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

How do successful people achieve results?  They know what they want and go after it.  Successful people set goals and develop plans to achieve their goals.  They also take action on their goals.  How can you go about setting goals?

Set goals for your personal and your professional life.  A goal is a desired result.  Write your goal using an action verb followed by an end result.  Be specific about what you want to accomplish.  For example, in the area of “career”:  “Attain a project management position by the end of the year” or “Increase my client base by 20% in the next six months”.

 Your goal should also be measurable.  Answer the question, “How will I know if I’m successful?”  If your goal is to improve your relationship with your spouse, how will you measure that?  Will you spend more quality time together?  How much time?  Will you communicate better?  Will it result in fewer misunderstandings?

 Finally, your goal should be time-specific.  Give a deadline or end date by which you expect to achieve your goal.  Identify a specific date or timeframe (i.e., by year-end, June 30th, or on a monthly basis).  Make sure the timeframe is realistic for you.

 Now you’re ready to determine action steps.  What will it take to accomplish each goal?  For each goal, identify action steps and dates.  For example:

Goal: Lose 15 pounds by April 15th

Action Steps:

  • Exercise for an hour 5 days a week
  • Write down everything I eat – 6 days a week
  • Track calories 6 days a week – limit to 1500 calories a day

Once you have your plan in place, you’re ready to take action.  Start your day by visualizing achievement of your goals.  What would success look like?  What would you be doing?  How would you feel?  Studies show that those who visualize success are more likely to achieve success.

Write your action steps in your planner or on your calendar.  Then follow through with your actions.  Monitor your progress as you go.  Finally, be sure to reward yourself for your success!  Choose a reward when you write your action plan.  Your reward will give you even greater incentive to reach your goals.  For example, not only will you look and feel great when you lose 15 pounds, but you’ll also be able to buy that new dress you’ve wanted.

Get started today!  When you plan to make your dreams come true, they do!

For more information on goal-setting, order How to Set and Achieve Your Goals CD, or register to attend my free teleseminar on January 19th at 12:00 p.m. Pacific time.  Just e-mail Kathleen@YourLifeBalanceCoach.com and provide your name, title, company name, phone number, and e-mail address.

 
Annual Review: Your Key to Self-Improvement

It’s that time of year to reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming year.  We all need time and space to step back from the day-to-day activity to reflect on our accomplishments, priorities and the direction of our life.  Now is the perfect time to review your personal mission or vision and your goals from the past year, and then set new goals.

 Reflect and Review

 Start by reflecting upon this past year.  What were the highlights?  The challenges?  What did you learn?  Maybe you had some financial challenges this year.  What did you learn from the experience?  Record your thoughts and insights. 

Review your personal mission or vision statement.  Your personal mission clarifies your values, and provides focus and direction.  Ask yourself, “Am I living my mission?”  If not, are you striving toward it?  Review your mission to see if it still reflects your deepest values and priorities.  Do you need to add to or modify it?  Make any edits as necessary.  If you don’t already have a written personal vision statement, then set aside time to work on it.  Finding Your Purpose and Passion in Life is a great resource, which walks you through the process of creating your personal vision statement.  This workbook is available at www.YourLifeBalanceCoach.com/products.htm.

Next review your goals from the past year.  How many of your goals did you actually achieve?  What progress did you make?  If you were unable to achieve a goal, what got in the way?  Give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve accomplished this year. 

 Looking Forward

Finally, set goals for the coming year.  Set a goal for each of the significant areas in your life – for example, career, family, health/fitness, financial, relationships, etc.  A goal is a desired end result.  Write your goal using an action verb followed by an end result.  For example, in the area of career:  “Attain a promotion to a management position by the end of the year”. 

Your goal should be both specific and measurable.  Answer the question, “How will I know I’m successful?”  If your goal is to improve your health and fitness, how will you do it?  Will you exercise regularly?  What type of exercise?  How will you measure your success?  By weight loss?  If so, how many pounds do you want to lose?  Give it a deadline.  Identify a specific date or timeframe (i.e., by year end, June 30th, or on a weekly or monthly basis).  After all, a goal without a deadline is just a dream.

 Finally, commit to your goals.  Imagine how great you’ll feel once you achieve your goals.  Be sure to write them down.  Research shows that those who write their goals are more likely to achieve them.  Better yet, share your goals with someone who is close to you.  By communicating your goals you’ll be more accountable.       

 By completing your annual review, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, learn from your challenges, and continuously improve.  Setting goals for the coming year will provide motivation and focus.  This process will help you continually improve yourself and your life.