While Valentine’s Day may celebrate love, statistically speaking, it is a total downer for staying true to New Year Resolutions.
If the numbers are correct, half of us have already fallen off the wagon toward our goals. A simple semantic shift will get us back on track! Peter Bregman, of the Harvard Business Review Blog encourages changing our language from goal to area of focus.
“An area of focus taps into your intrinsic motivation, offers no stimulus or incentive to cheat or take unnecessary risks, leaves every positive possibility and opportunity open, and encourages collaboration while reducing corrosive competition. All while moving forward on the things you value most.
How do you do it? Identify the things you want to spend your time doing — or decide what’s the most valuable use of your time — and spend your time doing those things.
The key is to resist the temptation to identify the outcome you want to achieve. Leave that open and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised. I’m not suggesting that this is easy to do. I never realized how goal-focused I was until I tried to stop focusing on goals. Without goals, I found it hard to trust that anything would get done at all.
But things got done. And in my experience, not only will you achieve at least as much as you would have if you had set goals, but you’ll enjoy the process far more, avoiding unnecessary stress and temptation.”
If you don’t agree with Peter, maybe Ray William’s list of 8 Steps from Wired for Success will satisfy you:
- Focus on one resolution, rather than several and set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be;
- Don’t wait till New Year’s eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day;
- Take small steps. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too much effort and action all at once;
- Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you to whom you have to report;
- Celebrate your success between milestones. Don’t wait the goal to be finally completed;
- Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits;
- Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
- Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment-by-moment, rather than living in the past or future.