How many people do you think achieve their New Year’s Resolutions?
You’d probably venture to guess that it’s low. It seems that by February that the gyms are back to being empty and that people are back to eating junk food.
But the numbers are even more startling than you might realize. I was surprised.
Only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
Setting goals is good for life. We generally become what we believe we will become in life. However, while creating a goal or a dream is a great first step, it’s still not easy to achieve your goals.
Here are some ways to improve your success rate when it comes to your goals.
1. Set A Realistic Goal, Then Go A Little Beyond
One of the struggles with setting goals is knowing what is possible. I think a general good rule of thumb is that we generally don’t expect enough of ourselves. We can’t achieve something big if we don’t dream big. You know the old sayings that relate to that sentiment.
But not everybody would be happy with huge goals. Some people are, but others are happier when life is different. Some might need to run huge, billion dollar organizations. Others might be happier running a small $5 million company.
The key is understanding what your goals are for life. What do you envision your ideal life being 10, 20 or 50 years from now. Start there are set a goal that’s realistic to you.
Then go a little beyond.
It’s always good to set a goal that’s just beyond what you’re thinking. This gives you a little room to play with.
2. Set Fewer Goals
Another issue is that we’re over ambitious with the number of goals we set. We see someone that has written a novel and we decide that before we die that we would like to write a novel.
We do the same with starting a business, having a family, traveling, gardening, building a house and on and on.
We can have more than one goal in life, but too many starts to spread our energy too thing. It also spreads our focus too thing.
I think it’s important to have a wide variety of interests, but a few key goals in life.
Look at the things you might like to achieve in life. Create a big list. Just go off on it and list all kinds of things. Then go into the list and prioritize by what would make you most happy. And look at the top goal or the top couple and you’ll be in good shape.
It works the same in business. Your company can do anything, but you can’t do everything…not well at least.
3. Focus On Longer Time Periods, Then Work Backwards
Want to take your business from $100,000 to $10 million? Maybe from $10 million to $1 billion?
Both goals are great.
But they are big goals. And that’s a good place to begin. But don’t think that you’ll get there overnight. These are long-term goals. Focus on a longer period of time to achieve the goal.
In general, our goals are pretty big, but we want them to occur maybe within a few months or a year. That’s not realistic.
Set your long-term goal. Then work backwards to determine what you have to do every year and every month and every day to achieve those goals.
Set the goal. Then build daily routines to make it happen.
4. Set Long & Short-Term Goals
Building on the last one is the idea that it’s still important to set short-term goals. This is similar to the previous point, but with a slight difference.
The last point focuses on building routines to help you achieve your goals. That’s important for both long and short-term goals.
A long-term goal is something I think you achieve in five-year increments.
Anything shorter than five years is a short-term goal.
What do you want to achieve this year? What do you want to achieve this month? Week? Day?
It’s important to have short goals in life. When you achieve them you feel good and they build your ability and your confidence (and enjoyment) that will help you achieve long-term goals.
5. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
A check-in is when you take time to assess your goals. I like to think of them as audits.
For business and life goals it’s good to have check-ins every 6-12 months. I like to add them to my calendar. I’ll clear out an entire day for it. Goals are important so taking one day out of the year to do this is not unreasonable.
Set a reminder a few days ahead to take an hour to prepare. Gather data. Take an hour to think about what you might need. Then take the entire day to go over your goals again.
Look at what you’re doing everyday to achieve your goals. It’s easy to get off track. The check-in is here to let you get back on track if you need to.
6. What Makes You Proud (Without Needing To Tell Others)?
Now we’ll get a little bit into how to choose your goals. Choose the wrong goal from the start and you’ll be setting yourself up for failure or disappointment.
Your mind either won’t let you finish the goal because it knows that it doesn’t really make you happy or you’ll achieve the goal and you’ll feel empty and unfulfilled.
What makes you proud of yourself?
What makes you happy without the need to let others know?
These are keys to figuring out the right goals. If building a business makes you internally proud and happy then that’s a goal you should strive to achieve.
7. What Would You Do For Free Everyday?
Building on the last one is another way to figure out what makes you happy.
What would you do for free everyday?
Back around 2008-2009 I started blogging…everyday. I don’t really know why I started doing it. I had an interest in online marketing and blogging. I was reading blogs at the time. I started my own and I made a commitment to myself to blog everyday.
I remember that one of my good friends asked why I did that everyday. He thought that you should only do something everyday if you were getting paid.
But blogging triggered something in my brain. And eventually Ghost Blog Writers grew out of that initial blogging interest. I would probably still blog everyday for free. Something inside of me gets fulfillment from blogging and from running a business.
8. Surround Yourself With The Right People
The saying goes something like, you are the combination of the five people you spend the most time with. I think that’s pretty true.
So if you want to achieve your goals you need to surround yourself with the right people. Are the people in your life helping you achieve your goals in some way or are they holding you back?
You might not even realize right now if they’re helping or hurting.
Maybe you like taking care of people so the people close to you are complainers and it makes you feel good to console them and to provide advice. But their negativity might be rubbing off on you and inadvertently teaching you to hold back on going after your goals in life.
On the other hand, people that encourage, challenge and lead by example are good people to have around you if you want to achieve your own goals.
9. Help Others (To Help Yourself)
Life is not lived alone.
You can help yourself by helping others.
Football in America is known as the ultimate team game. No one player can win or lose an entire game. Offensive and defensive players are different. The two sides split time on the field.
Even the quarterback, who only plays about 50% of the game, doesn’t usually throw it on every play. And even if he does it’s still up to the receiver to catch it.
Let’s say a quarterback has the goal to win the Super Bowl. He can’t do it himself. It would benefit him to help every other player on the team to improve and to reach their goals. This raises the entire team and together they can achieve great goals.
Help others to help yourself.
10. Do A Little More Than Is Expected
Finally, what is expected of you to achieve your goals?
What do you expect of yourself or what does someone expect of you?
Go a little beyond. It’s easy for anyone to follow the rules. It’s more difficult to go beyond what is expected, but those that do generally go farther in life.
This was one of Charles Woodson’s secrets to success in football and in life. He did more than what was expected every time. More practice. More film study. More stretching. More testing.
Reaching goals is very satisfying. But many of us fall short of our goals. We really only have dreams. It’s easier to have a dream than it is to have a goal. We can fantasize. That’s fun, but it’s more fun, obviously, to actually achieve the most important things in our lives.
The tips above are things you can do to achieve your own goals. Assess what you’re doing right now and use these tips as guides to get on the right track.