New Year resolutions – how are those going for you? I’m sure on most, you’re flying ahead, while maybe there are a few that lay fallen by the wayside.
We each begin the year with some lofty goals. It’s a powerful time of promise, possibility and excitement in the air.
Unfortunately, those goals don’t always grow legs and develop a life of their own (at least not yet!). So the first three months of the year are imperative to setting foundations that create momentum.
Whether your goals are getting nicely under way or your big idea is still just formulating, Open Colleges would like to share the fool-proof New Year’s resolutions progress check below to ensure that you are pacing ahead for a terrific year.
1. Have you set ‘goals’ or ‘resolutions’?
What’s the difference, I hear you wonder! Well a ‘resolution’ usually only encompasses a behaviour change (‘stop smoking’, ‘get healthy’, ‘make more money’). It’s what you resolve to do.
A ‘goal’ on the other hand is outcome based, with clear and defined specifics and a timeline.
Since a resolution doesn’t really come with a concrete plan of action, success experts recommend writing them as goals using the SMART formula. As you have probably heard, this acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
To feel excited about what you can achieve, pick a theme for 2015 and write down an inspired, specific goal that could correlate with that. Your resolutions will then become a natural part of your plan – and will more likely be achieved as they tie back to a greater purpose.
2. What visuals are in your space?
Studies show that visual reinforcement of a goal creates better habit retention. To immerse yourself in your goal, why not put positive Post-It notes on your fridge or bathroom mirror or change your screen-savers to inspiring images? Leave fitness magazines around your home! Keep finance newspapers on your coffee table! Leave Open Colleges course materials on your bedside… Whatever your goal is, make sure you see it constantly. In no time, you will create new ways of thinking that create success.
3. Big steps or micro-goals?
Micro-goals are exactly that – small, tiny achievements that you make daily. That old saying that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time is true. All big goals are achieved through a configuration of smaller actions anyway. It is proven that smaller steps increase motivation and flood the body with positive chemicals of success. So daily, just lean in. Ask yourself – what is the very next step? Is it an email? A phone call? A 45 minute walk? Then go and do just that! Sure, you can do more, but that one small action – taken daily – will have the cumulative effect of moving you forward steadily.
4. How are you tracking?
Measuring outcomes is another tested and proven method to help you succeed. No one bumbles along in life and then – pop! – their goals just happen. All outcomes are the result of a metric system that allows you to observe, celebrate and adjust your progress as needed. So, make sure you put some numbers around your daily tasks. Don’t just say you’ll go for a walk, affirm that you will go for a 30 minute walk. And then add 2 x 5 minute sprints. See what we’re doing here? Measuring things will let you see the progress that you’re making each day. Try these terrific apps to help you.
5. Who are you accountable to?
One thing your goals need to do is be measured – but another element to fast-tracking your success is your goals being witnessed. Staying accountable is about sharing your goal with supportive parties who can provide honest feedback and help you stay on track. They will also call you out if they see you dragging your feet! Whether it’s a coach, a training buddy or cheerful family member, sharing your goals will put them out in the open and give your success new wings.
6. Enlist the experts
Every starlet has an entourage that keeps them on their A-game, so why not you? Experts help you flourish in your own development. Hire a personal trainer, get a coach, join mentoring and training groups, read books and get the best support that money can afford – you’re worth it. If budget is tight, there are plenty of free online resources and libraries for you to draw upon. The point is, keep stretching.
By writing your outcomes down, paying attention to them daily, continually readjusting them and enlisting the support of others, you will achieve your goals in no time. Whether your goal is to change careers, learn new skills or expand your world, Open Colleges has you covered for the best 2015 ever.
Learning a new skill this year?
If you’ve resolved to learn something new this year, check out Open Colleges’ range of vocational and interest-led courses to help you reach your goals for 2015.