New year, new you?
It’s that time of the year when our thoughts always turn to goals and self improvement. Lose weight. Exercise more. More quality time with the people you love.
Whatever your goals are, this time of year we call it a “New Year’s Resolution” and stick to it. For about 3 weeks, on average.
It turns out, only about 8% of people successfully keep their new year’s resolutions. So how can you be in that 8%? What is the secret to keeping your new year’s resolution?
To find out, I asked 11 successful leaders of companies, from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Here are their secrets, followed by mine:
- Be Extremely Detailed
You need to be extremely specific to keep your resolutions. Instead of writing, “Build a personal brand,” you should write: “I want to be on four panels and publish 12 articles.” Then document the actions and milestones required. For this example, you’d write, “Define panel goals with PR firm” and “Write an article per month.” You can never be too detailed with resolutions!
- Create a Wager
Put up $100 or $1,000. Most people don’t like losing money and will stick to their resolution if it’s going to otherwise cost them. If money isn’t a good one, choose something else. You have to have something on the line.
- Think of Them as Part of Your Lifestyle
I don’t think of my resolutions as goals. I think of them more as a lifestyle change. It’s much easier for me to stay on track with my resolutions when I think like this!
- Make It a Community Effort
Many people in the office are probably going to have New Year’s resolutions. I like to ask people what theirs were on the first day back after the New Year and encourage them to share it with others. Letting people know what your resolutions are makes it easier to stay honest. Also, it’s a disarming way of maybe finding out what your employees want out of life and their job.
- Aim for an Achievable Goal
A lot of people make the same mistake. They make their New Year’s resolutions too difficult to achieve. Rather than attempting to change something major, choose to fight smaller battles and improve those small idiosyncrasies. Rather than telling yourself you’re going to stop eating gluten, for instance, resolve to be more conscientious about keeping a clean workspace.
- Stay Authentic
After I make a list of resolutions I’d like to stick to, I look over it and ask myself whether I actually care about any of them. Society pressures us into making New Year’s resolutions about certain aspects of life (usually diet and exercise). But what if I have other priorities? If I can only make resolutions around one or two things that truly matter to me then I’ll actually stick to them.
- Don’t Wait Until the New Year
It’s almost impossible to change conditioned behavior by making resolutions on arbitrary dates. Think how many resolutions you’ve made and broken in your life. The key to long-lasting change is a habit of constant optimization — if something’s not working, change it. Be mindful about your productivity system and your life generally, and make the necessary changes as you spot problems.
- Write Them Down
Write your goals down and re-write them monthly (or better yet weekly). This will not only help you stay on track but will help you better define how you achieve those resolutions.
- Make Sure You’re Accountable
I share my resolutions with business partners, friends and my fiancé. Then I set small milestones at specific times For example: “I will lose 30 pounds by December 2016, and in order to achieve this, I will lose two pounds per week until I reach my goal.” Be specific and also set designated check-in times with your accountability partners.
- Set SMART Goals
Set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). If your goal is to get into shape, set a target (distance to run, weight, heart rate, etc.), create a workout routine and measure results on a regular basis. SMART goals require better planning. If you plan up front, you’ll find harder to slack and your goal will be in sight in no time.
- Prioritize, Pay Attention and Be Disciplined
I have a set of tools that seem to elude most people these days: priorities, attention and discipline. Life is full of advantages and disadvantages, and for the most part, you’re in control. If you focus on doing only what matters and you are reasonably disciplined about your priorities, you should be able to keep those resolutions. – Alfredo Atanacio, Co-Founder, Uassist.ME
Those are the 11 secrets of some of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. My secrets? For me, it’s all about starting early, and having an accountability partner. I’ve been focused on losing weight and better overall health habits: exercise, eating well, gratitude, supplements and water. I’ve had a terrific accountability partner over the last 4 weeks, and I’m proud to report that I’ve lost 17 pounds so far.
Those are my secrets. Now, it’s your turn. What are your secrets to keeping your goals? What are your new year’s resolutions this year? Please let me know in the Comments section below – and please share this post! I want these secrets to get out, so we can all accomplish our goals in 2016. Happy New Year!