These tips will help see them through.

Written by Steve Molloy

A new decade is upon us with New Year’s resolutions already in first gear. About 70% of people have ‘diet and eat healthy’ as their top priority followed by exercise more and lose weight. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February. But should diet, exercise, save money, spend less and lose weight be the only things we focus on? Why not setting goals to live life to the fullest or ‘Being able to make the most of now’ or ‘unashamedly being yourself?’

Do these goals have a selfish stigma that goes with it?

Some people may be frustrated with their work situation, yet continue working as it pays their bills. Sometimes it’s better to be agreeable than correct in the workforce. The real question then becomes, what comes first, happiness or success? This is akin to the chicken and egg scenario as well. There are three main things that make people happy: close relationships, a job or past-time that they love and helping others.

Below are some easy steps to define your goals.

- Start by writing a list of the things you enjoy
- Then a list of the things which inspire you and motivate you.
- Categorise them in either short-term and long-term goals.
- Work backwards from your goals and what steps you need to achieve them.
- Understand what you don’t want. eg. If you hate mundane and structured tasks, the opposite could be that you want freedom and flexibility.
- Good things take time, but be prepared for early results. Update your photography headshots for business, update your website, minimise some of your bad habits and plan in advance

“A goal without a plan is a wish”

Deadline Goals vs Habit Goals

Deadline Goals are setting dates to achieve your goals eg. to run the Sydney Marathon on the 20th of September 2020. Habit goals are defined by routine based activities eg. to go for a run 3 times a week.

The downside of relying on goals

- Goals are temporary and don't last.
- You feel you're not successful or happy until you reach your goal.
- Goals rely on willpower and self-discipline.

Charles Duhigg wrote in "The Power of Habit" that "willpower isn't just a skill. It's a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there's less power left over for other things." Committing yourself to a goal requires constant diligence and willpower. But that may be hard to sustain when other demands in our lives drain our energy, and the goal is put on the back burner or has to compete with other demands.

What are the advantages of developing good habits instead?

- Good habits allow you to exceed a goal.
- Habits are often easier to accomplish than goals.
- Habits are for life.
- Small habits are manageable.
- It takes 21 days to build a habit.

The habit of exercising 30 minutes per day or making 10 sales calls per day, the likelihood is that you will exceed your goal because you've developed a daily habit you can sustain.

Quarterly Self-analysis and Adjustments

Analysis what went well, what didn’t. You need to track your journey every 3 months and review your goals to make adjustments. If you crushed your goal early, maybe increase the bar and increase the challenge. If a goal you set was too ambitious for that date either dramatically increase your efforts or push the goal back another quarter not two.

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure”

The Power of Setting a Schedule (New Year’s Resolutions)

In my experience, a better way to achieve your goals is to set a schedule to operate. Last year I lost 27kgs by simply avoiding sugar, skipping one meal and doing sports I love. Write them down and stick and place them somewhere like your phone,laptop or bed. Some suggest having one goal for the year, others say ten goals. My past experience is setting five main goals has been the magic number and avoiding spreading your focus too thin.

Achieving Success in Business (New Year’s Resolutions)

Some people work remotely, some work from an office. Some companies raise VC capital, some bootstrap. Some people work 40 hours a week, some work 70. None of these dictate success, they are just different levers to pull. From 2008 mobile phones enabled many startups to change the way we did business. Retail bricks-and-mortar shops this year are looking to have challenges ahead. Maybe 2020 will be the year to start a side-hustle or side business selling online utilising dropshipping, Shopify and vertical marketing.

Reward yourself on wins

Plan in advance your celebrations and rewards. Success needs to be celebrated as you’ve worked hard for them. Maybe a new car, relaxing holiday, new shirt, new pair of running shoes. Celebrate the smallest wins, if it’s something you want or desire, save it for when you have accomplished a milestone. Eg. When you’ve lost 10kgs buy a new shirt or dress, when you lose 20kgs buy a new suit.

Master self-discipline (New Year’s Resolutions)

Self discipline means self control, which is a sign of inner strength and control of yourself, your actions, and your reactions. Self discipline gives you the power to stick to your decisions and follow them through, without changing your mind, and is therefore, one of the important requirements for achieving goals.

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