I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. If you really want to do something, there's no need to wait until the New Year. Start today.
However, I do absolutely love this time of year for the simple fact that many of us get some down time.
As such, it presents a wonderful opportunity to pause, reflect on the year that has been and dream of who we will become, and what we may contribute, in the year to come.
If we do look at this time of year, research by the University of Scranton indicates that only 8% of people actually stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. Eight percent!
So if you are setting New Year's resolutions or if you do have goals and decisions that you want to make in your life, how do you ensure you're in that eight percent?
Last year, in 2017, I spent a quarter studying world’s best practice when it comes to setting and achieving meaningful goals.
Those people who have created a life that is holistically successful, and continue to achieve all they set out to achieve… what were they doing differently?
During this research, I was struck with the blindingly obvious realisation… That to be somebody who sets and achieves meaningful goals, is a skill like everything else.
And, the great thing about skills? They can be learnt and developed.
So today I’m going to share with you the 5 key questions you need to ask yourself now in order to develop this skill and set yourself up to actually achieve your goals… even if they are New Year Resolutions.
Question 1 – Am I willing to make the sacrifices required?
In life, you get what you are willing to work for. Everything has a price.
If you want to read more, you’ll need to give up listening to music on your commute or wake up earlier.
If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to cut back on sugar or alcohol and create more time to hit the gym.
If you want to make more money, you'll need to work more efficiently and effectively.
Every single thing has a price. And the reason most people give up on their goals before February is because they haven’t considered that price and made a commitment to paying it.
Question Two – Is it achievable?
As you probably know, I am a big thinker and I encourage you to be also. However, understanding the law of limited potential is actually critical to setting and achieving meaningful goals.
While social media often portrays the idea that you can be, do and have literally everything you want. Unfortunately, this is fundamentally untrue and allowing yourself to believe it will only serve to kill your potential.
Because if you don’t recognise the law of limited potential, you’ll probably fall into the territory of basking in the idea of endless potential. And those who bask in the fantasy of endless potential are generally the people who fail to commit to a certain path or decision.
You might be able to do anything, but you cannot do everything. So set yourself up for success by choosing a particular path and committing to it.
Recognise that you're a human being with limited potential. And while that limit is probably higher than what you might believe, it is nonetheless, limited. So, focus on what’s important to you.
Question Three – How am I setting myself up for success?
What are you changing or rearranging to make room in your life to achieve your goals?
Your goals won’t simply achieve themselves. If you’re not making time and changing your habits to empower yourself to succeed chances are your resolutions will dissolve by February.
Instead of waiting for January 1st. Start thinking now – how can you structurally set yourself up to give yourself the maximum chance of succeeding?
This process doesn’t have to be complicated.
If you've got a goal or a habit you want to get up every morning at 5AM, set a recurring alarm for 5AM every single day.
If you want to eat healthier food, create a meal plan or order prepackaged healthy meals that get delivered to you each week.
If you’re giving up alcohol, remove all the alcohol from your house ahead of January 1st.
Regardless of what the goal is, tell people about it. Having friends, family, and colleagues around you to answer to and hold you accountable will mean you’re more likely to stick with it.
Question Four – Am I maximising my potential?
In Question Two we explored whether your goal was too big, this is about assessing, is your goal big enough?
While some people have a tendency to set themselves up for failure by choosing goals that are too big, the flipside is selling yourself short by aiming too low.
In fact, I see this a lot with business owners. They might be doing half a million dollars in revenue a year at the moment, and then they set themselves the goal of achieving 20 percent growth the following year.
When in reality you should be thinking, how can I 10x my business next year and working backward from that?
So while it’s important to recognise that yes we do have limited potential, if you’re willing to put in the work and set yourself up for success, make sure you are setting yourself up to be all you can be.
Question Five – How can I find joy in the process?
If you view your habits and goals as a boring chore chance are you won’t see them through to fruition. Instead, focus on finding the joy in the journey.
For me recently, I’ve been training a lot at the gym, and one of the reasons I’ve been so disciplined with it is because every time I train I listen to YouTube videos or podcasts on topics I love learning about – anything around human potential, psychology, personal development, business history, the future, and finance. This has enhanced my enjoyment of training significantly and as such I’m there every day at 5:30am.
Above all else, it’s essential to recognise that in the pursuit of meaningful goals and in the pursuit of more effective habits, there are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days. Some days you're going to crush it. Some weeks you're going to crush it. Some months you're going to crush it.
The opposite is also true.
Some days you're not going to be great. Some weeks you're going to suck. Some months are going to go out the window because you were particularly tired, you were travelling, life got in the way.
Give yourself grace around that to this end. Do not use temporary failure as an excuse to quit.