Determining and Achieving Your Goals

We’re just in to the second month of 2010. A lot of us use the New Year as a reset button, a time to set goals and change our lives. In fact, according to a 2002 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40 to 45 % of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. The problem is that 25% of them don’t even make it through the first week, 64% keep going past the first month, and less than half continue going after their goals for more than 6 months.

So… How are you doing with your resolutions?

Interestingly, studies find that the people who keep up with their resolutions for 2 years or more average 14 slips or setbacks in that time. Don’t look at those numbers and get discouraged. Realize that what it means is that they kept going, regardless of setbacks. Most people give up on New Year’s resolutions because they can’t do it perfectly on the first try, yet I would bet that you can count on one hand the list of things you were able to do perfectly the first time (Bowling was one of mine, at the age of 10. It’s been all downhill from there.).

Another challenge that people run into is in not properly identifying their real goal. The first thing we come up with isn’t usually what we really want. It helps to get to the underlying reason for wanting to lose weight or pay off your debts or quit smoking, because then you know what it is you’re really going after. So the desired result is clearer, the motivation stronger, and there are more options in the way you get there.

Our society is very focused on instant gratification. We want what we want NOW. Even if we understand that it’s going to take some effort, we’re not very practiced, as a whole, in creating a game plan for reaching our goals. It’s like that Far Side® cartoon with the mathematician at the blackboard, writing out a large equation, and in the middle it says “Then a miracle happens.” Being able to create an effective plan of action, and being able to assess that plan as you move forward, goes a long way towards your chances of reaching the finish line.

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