Happy 2019! I hope you enjoyed some quality time with your family during the recent holidays and made meaningful memories along the way. Now that it’s January 2, you’re probably cleaning up after entertaining guests, or just getting around to solidifying your New Year’s resolutions.
Personally, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. To me, New Year’s resolutions are usually not that well thought out. They are great at giving you a quick “sugar rush” of feeling accomplished, and they’re a perfect conversation piece to talk about with co-workers and family, but that’s about it. Statistically speaking, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail as soon as February.
So instead of coming up with New Year’s resolutions, I write personal expectations. I say “expectation” because I believe you have to fully expect yourself to succeed. Follow these steps to take your resolutions to the next level:
Get it in Writing
Just by putting something in writing, you make it real. People who write down their goals and dreams on a regular basis have a proven edge over those who don’t. Recent studies show that by putting pen to paper, you instantly become 42% more likely to make your goals a reality. And in case you were wondering, physically writing out your personal expectations will be more effective than typing them or sharing them out loud.
Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable
When you’re writing down your personal expectations, make sure they’re measurable. Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they are well-intentioned, but don’t have much substance. According to the Nielsen Company, last year’s top New Year’s resolution was to “stay fit and healthy.” On the surface, this sounds admirable, but this kind of goal is too vague to lead to success. If your expectations aren’t clearly defined and quantifiable, how will you know when you’ve reached it? Attach a number to your expectations and specify your timeframe. If staying fit means losing weight, exactly how many pounds would you like to lose? Or, if staying healthy means working out more, how often are you going to hit the gym?
What is Your Why?
Really think about why you chose your personal expectations. Why are they important to you? Connect them to what you value most, who you are as a person and who you want to become. This will be the core of your motivation. If your goal is to read more in the coming year, why is that important to you? If you think deeply about your “why,” you will have a constant source of motivation as time goes on.
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Write an Action Plan
Break down your personal expectations into manageable steps. Many people fall into the trap of wanting to do too much too soon. Don’t count on a drastic change—start with steps you will be comfortable starting today. For example, if you have never been to the gym before, a commitment to working out every single day starting today might be too tall an order. For many people, that approach will only lead to burnout. Start with baby steps today and work up to your ideal over time. And don’t forget to track your progress along the way!