New Year’s resolutions are notoriously ineffective for most people, so much so that they have become something of a joke in pop culture. In recent years, the subject has spawned memes that are funny but painfully resonate for those of us who have difficulty in sticking to them. There has even been a movement which promotes not setting up goals.
Evidence for goal setting
There are a lot of articles that mention studies done by a group of researchers carried out on a Harvard Business School and a Yale Business School graduating class about goal setting. It mentions how only 3% of the class wrote down their goals and they were ten times as successful as their classmates a decade down the line. Those studies are an urban legend perpetuated by motivational gurus and articles that espoused them. However, on a study done by Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University, they found out that those who wrote down their goals achieved a lot more than those who didn’t. So the bottom line is, you should write down your New Year’s resolutions.
The S.M.A.R.T. method
If you are a corporate employee, you may have been sat down by your immediate manager and asked to set down goals that use the S.M.A.R.T. method. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It is something that is applicable to New Year’s resolutions to make them more effective.
You can’t just make blanket statements and say I will become richer this 2019. The more specific that you get, the more effective your New Year’s resolution will be. Let’s say that my resolution is to have saved $5,000.00 by the time 31st December comes around. Since I specified an amount, rather than just saying ‘I want to save money this year’ I have given myself a clear objective which I can break down into smaller goals – so I know exactly how much I would need to save from each paycheck to achieve it.
Let’s say that you wanted to lose or gain weight, or become healthier this 2019. You need to attach a specific goal to this – perhaps it’s weight loss or achieving a fitness goal like being able to run 10 miles within a specific timeframe. Attach a number to your goal, so that you have a way to measure your success and you can work towards this throughout the year.
Let’s go back to my first example of saving $5,000.00. Is it attainable for you or is it like shooting for the moon? It’s so much easier to slide back into not having goals if you don’t see any improvement from your starting point. We’re human and we’re programmed to respond to rewards. We get rewarded psychologically if we see ourselves surpassing our set milestones so make sure the goals that you set yourself are achievable, otherwise you’ll become demotivated.
Furthermore, your goal should be relevant and important to you. There’s no point in setting goals just because other people are, what you set up to do should be important to you and should create a postive impact in your life or those around you.
It’s easy to say that a New Year’s resolution should be done within a year. That’s very constricting. You can set a long-term resolution that is achievable in five years, ten years, and so on. The opposite is also true. You can set a New Year’s resolution that’s achievable in a month, in a quarter, or in half a year!
Write it down
As the end of the year draws in, write down what you want to accomplish. You don’t want the years to go by and not become the best person that you were meant to be. Make a more effective New Year’s resolution now!