Written by Dorcas Solomon
Statistics tells us that only 8% of people who make “New Year’s goals” actually fulfill them. The point here is not to make it seem impossible to achieve whatever goals you set, but rather to understand that the proportion of people who do are few.
Nonetheless, the great thing is that anyone can accomplish his or her goals. I did, for the things I set out for last year, and really didn’t do anything spectacular to achieve them, but small actions.
Here are 4 of the things I did:
When embarking on a new goal, or trying to implement a new habit or even get rid of one – it is important to first prepare yourself mentally. The idea behind preparing your mind is to have a practical, sustainable and doable perspective on the task to begin. Preparation gives you the attitude of commitment. It enables you to remember why you started on days you “don’t feel up to it.” It helps get your mind in tune with your motivation.Preparation also plays a major part in your accomplishment as it gives the foundations for a lasting result. I would suggest you include some writing during this time as writing down your goals gives you more clarity, focus, and direction.
2) Start small: consistency First, quality Later
Are you looking to finish a course, learn a language, workout 4x a week, start a blog, read 3x more books this year? Whatever it is, although may seem daunting at first can be achieved. All theses outcomes emanate from doing little things every day over a long period.
For instance, I had a goal last years to work out 4 times a week for 30-45 minutes. Well let’s say this didn’t last very long or rather I should say I was very inconsistent with it. I discovered I was asking too much of myself from the get go. The distance between where you are and where you want to be – has to be reasonable and practical.
I decide to change my strategy by committing to a 7 minutes workout everyday… which turned out to be a better plan. The idea behind this is to build consistency by making a routine you can actually keep up with. Doing too much early on prevents you from taking action because the end result– where your eyes focus– seems too enormous and the thought of reaching it becomes daunting. 7 minutes workout every day looked quite trivial, so I had no problem getting up to do it. After doing this consistently for two months, working out became a natural habit that I had no problem spending 45mins -1 hr.
Start small. Rather than committing to finishing a book in a week or two, start by setting a goal to read a page every day (which is doable) and then celebrate your accomplishments weekly. The point is to focus repeating the habit every day. Remember, you are trying to build consistency first.
3) Associate an existing habit with the task
Reading the news more frequently was also one of my goals for last year, but I never get around to doing it during my entire day ever. However, every morning without a doubt after waking up and doing some devotion I would make some lemon water or green tea and then go about other activities. This was a natural pattern to my morning, one I didn’t have to think about. So I decided to associate reading the news – which was a new habit I was trying to form with an already existing habit – Drinking tea.
The key here is to think of a habit you do every day without realizing it, something that is very natural to you and then let them act as a trigger for the new habit you are trying to create. During the time of just sitting still while drinking tea, I know to go on my phone app (I had downloaded a couple of “news app”) and just read it, even it if was for a couple of minutes.
4) Explore different options
Try creating a process that works for you, not what has worked for other. Explore if the goals you are trying to achieve are easier to accomplish in the morning time or in the evening based on your daily activities and lifestyle.
For instance, when I started working out consistently I wanted to do it mornings – “as it is generally advised to do so since it gives you the energy boost needed for the rest of your day.” However, I found that this didn’t work for me. I kept trying for months to get it in, but it was a struggle due to my schedule at the time. So I decided to try working out in the evenings instead and it was just the perfect fit.
The point here is – don’t count it as a failure when you are unable to stick with whatever your goal is at first. Instead, try recreating a different approach and method. Maybe reading on your commute to work might be a better plan than at night or vice versa.
Try focusing on one goal at a time, if incorporating or working on multiple at the same time seems futile.
Also, remember that it takes different time length to achieve different goals. And this will vary for individuals, so do not compare. Start the process and take your time.
Lastly, none of the things you plan to accomplish will come easy, but at the end, it will be worth the effort.
Coach me – This app allows you to choose your goals and then select the type of coaching you require: advice, motivation, and/or prompting from the Lift community. You can hire a coach, get props from other users and set up reminders to do tasks.
(Free / Available for iPhone, Android)
HabitList: This app helps you track how many times in a row you completed a habit. Helping you in the process of creating good habits and breaking unhealthy ones. You can create flexible schedules for habits that are to be done on specific days or intervals (such as writing a blog post twice a week or hitting the gym every Tuesday and Thursday). Habit List will send you reminders to keep you on track.
(Priced/Available for iPhone)
Bellebethcooper Course: This course promises to teach you to work smarter, not harder. It covers – overcoming procrastination, building new habits, productivity and looking after your health while getting things done.
(Priced / 4 weeks course)
GolasonTrack: This app offers a comprehensive set of tools to guide you through a successful goal achieving process, tracking progress, managing task, to forming habits. This app also has a built-in goal journal allowing you to record your progress and a habit tracker that provides a visual guide of your successes.
(Free / Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7).
Irunurun: This is a performance and accountability app that argues actions speak louder than goals. Begin by entering the action, or habit, you want to track… This app also allows you to share the experience with others. Invite friends, family or colleagues to any action and build an accountability team so they can encourage your progress. Irunurun makes three versions of this app – for personal, team and enterprise use.
(Free for personal version / Available on iPhone and iPad).