New Year’s Resolutions: Start with a Dream, End with a Goal December 31, 2013 by Carl Nelson
Americans love to make New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, over 150 million Americans are estimated to make resolutions come January 1, 2014, which accounts for about half of the U.S. population. Losing weight will undoubtedly be the top resolution with getting fit/healthy not trailing too far behind. Unfortunately, only about 8% of people will actually be successful in achieving their resolution. It’s quite sad actually. Besides the difficulty associated with changing lifestyles and bad habits, I believe this lack of success also comes about as people don’t spend enough time planning their resolutions to begin with. The evidence is quite clear: people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t. Creating the Dream Every self-help book I’ve ever read says to “dream big”. And I think they are right, we should always be dreaming. Dreaming is what gives us hope and it’s a sign that you still think you can win. Successful people are constantly dreaming about what the future holds and what they can achieve next. If you haven’t been dreaming lately about what you can do to be happier, healthier, or improve your life in some way, this is your reminder to start. But just as dreaming is great, it can also be a downfall. There are millions of people who have these great dreams about what they want to achieve or do in life but they stop there. You can’t just have dreams; you need to act on them. Actions are what bring dreams to life. And if you want it bad enough, you must be willing to put in the work to achieve your dream. You can’t just expect it to fall into your lap. This is where you take your dream and turn it into actionable goals. Developing Goals That Work “I think there is something more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision” - W. Clement Stone Goals are developing the practical steps in your life to make your dreams come true. If your dream is the taste of a delicious venison steak, the goals are developing the tools necessary to build a weapon, go out in the woods, hunt a deer, kill it, drag it back to your home, cook it, and eat it. In other words, goals are the steps you need to take in order to achieve your dream. As I mentioned above, goals that are explicit are 10 times more likely to be achieved than those that aren’t. What do I mean by “explicit”? Well, goals that work should have 5 essential components. Many of you are probably already familiar with these 5 components, but I am going to review them anyways because they are important and they work. These components are: Goals must be specific and measurable – Goals should not be vague. A vague goal is nothing more than a hopeless dream. A poor goal is to say you want to lose weight. That is not specific or measurable. How would you know when you achieved that goal? When you lose 2 pounds? 50 pounds? 200 pounds? You get the picture. A better example is that you want to lose 25 pounds, or you want to add 1 inch to your biceps (beach summer is coming). By creating specific goals, you can create measurable progress. If you drop 5 pounds in 2 weeks, you know that you are 20% to reaching your goal. By being able to measure your progress, you get pumped up and create traction towards actually achieving your goal. Goals must have a time limit – You need to give yourself a time limit if you want to achieve a goal, otherwise it will never happen. Parkinson’s Law is the adage which states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. If you don’t have a time limit, you’ll never put the work in to reach your goal as you’ll continuously put it off. You want to be able to do 10 pull-ups with 25 pounds attached to your Brute Belt. Not good enough. You want to be able to do 10 pull-ups with 25 pounds attached to your Brute Belt within 6 months. Now we have something you work with. Goals must be yours – The goals you set must be yours and they must be something you care deeply about. If your wife wants you to lose thirty pounds because she's sick of looking at your fat stomach and you don’t care about losing any weight, best of luck when your co-worker brings in a dozen donuts on Monday morning or you need to get up at 5 in the morning for a run in the rain. Goals are not easy and you will inevitably face obstacles and difficulties along the way. In order to have the courage and preserve when the going gets tough, you need to be passionate about the goal and really want it. If you don’t, why are you trying to achieve it in the first place? Goals must be in writing – This is an easy one, but almost no one does it. Take your goals and write them down. What’s so special about writing down your goals? Committing your goals to writing requires you to think about and clarify exactly what you want. Articulating your intentions is very important. By writing them down, it also allows you to be reminded of and revisit them often. By revisiting them, you can see your progress which enables you to celebrate small victories along the way. So what are you waiting for? Goals are essential to winning in life. It’s time for you to grab a pen and paper and begin writing down your dreams and goals for 2014. Do it.
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