Someone once told me that the rocket from Cape Canaveral to the Moon is only ever on track for 3 per cent of the time. It’s off track 97 per cent of the time. The secret to it getting there is that it’s put back on track only when it’s marginally off track.
Anyone who’s strayed from their well-intended New Year resolutions can take comfort in the fact that regular correction can bring the goal back into focus.
Many people set goals, but then don’t monitor their progress or be accountable to anyone about how they’re going. When they get off track, they may think it’s all too hard or they may tell themselves they’re hopeless; either way they stop. What the rocket story tells us is that we can slip up from time to time. When we check in on our progress regularly, we remind ourselves why we have set our goals and then move forward again.
This is why support is so important. To really be dedicated to a goal we need to define the goal clearly and understand how it makes a difference to achieving those values that are most important to us.
A goal to “get healthy” is too broad and vague. Narrow it down, what exactly does “get healthy” look like/mean to you? Does it mean walk for 20 minutes three days a week or train for a marathon? Does it mean increase the amount of green veges you eat or reduce your alcohol consumption: if so, by how much and how often? This is what I mean when I say, “Get specific”.
Ask yourself, what really drives me to want this goal and what difference is it really going to make to me when I achieve/get it? This process of clarifying your reasons for doing something gives you sufficient fuel in your motor to drive you to your destination.
A point of distinction is to have a strategy in place for the hurdles that inevitably appear to block or stop you.
We all know circumstances pop up that make it hard for us to keep our resolutions. When someone passes around double chocolate muffins at work just as the mid-morning munchies kick in your resolution to avoid sugar may melt.
However, when you have planned for things that might challenge your resolve, they are no longer unexpected. When you have healthy snacks in your desk drawer, or a prepared explanation for why you’re not eating sugar you find it easier to decline. And you’re able to keep on track.
These are the main differences between people who set New Year resolutions and nail them, and those who don’t.
Have someone to check in with about your goals so you can make success easy. I fill this role with many of my clients, in fact one once called me “an unreasonable friend”.
There’s nothing quite like being accountable to someone you have to look in the eye and say “Yeah, I’ve done that”.
Over the next five weeks I’ll come back to points made in this column to help you keep on track.
You can also see the article (as it ran in the Marlborough Express) here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/opinion/8138535/Clarify-your-targets-and-set-up-support