It’s that time of year when there’s a lot of buzz about New Year’s resolutions. Yet a commonly held statistic is that only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. That means 92% of people fail each year!!
Yet we know there is great power in goal-setting. For example, Yale University researchers found that only 3% of students in a graduating class had written goals and an action plan to achieve them.
Here’s what’s fascinating. After the researchers tracked those students over the next 20 years, the same 3% were earning 10 times as much as the entire 97% COMBINED!
The bottom line is that people who have defined, measurable, written goals outperform most others.
So why do so many people fail and what are the secrets of those who succeed?
Biggest Reasons Goals Fail
Typically, people have never been taught how to set goals and action plans that work. We get comfortable with our routines or lack discipline. We set too many goals or get derailed by small failures. Our goals might be too vague or lofty. Or we might not have a strategy for being held accountable. There might even be “naysayers” who derail our motivation.
Busyness can also keep us from finding the time to focus on the big picture. When we’re in the thick of things, it’s hard to see the path. Taking a “CLARITY BREAK” is one way to detach from the grind and get clear on what’s most important.
By focusing “ON” our business or life, versus twirling “IN” it, we make better decisions, set better goals and choose better paths.
What Makes a Good Goal?
Traditional goal-setting wisdom has taught us that a good goal must be SMART:
· Specific. It’s always best to write down your goals – either on paper or digitally – breaking pieces of the goal into smaller steps.
· Measurable. Put a number to your goal. Set it to hit it. Find an accountability partner for encouragement and set reminders to keep you on track.
· Attainable. You must believe it’s possible, or you won’t be motivated. Be sure you think through any obstacles and tasks needed to overcome them. Make sure it’s possible for you to have control over the outcome.
· Realistic. Make sure the odds are good for your to accomplish your goals. Otherwise, you might set yourself up for overwhelm or frustration.
· Timely. Always put a deadline to your goals. Typically, people have about a 90-day attention span for goals. At EOS, we call these ROCKS – 3 to 7 of the most important priorities during the next 90 days.
While we might have a handful of annual goals or long-term priorities, shorter timeframes build good follow-through habits and reward you with quicker gratification. By having more frequent victories, you’ll build a strong track record and create more momentum.
On the other hand, longer-term goals force you to grow, keep you headed in the right direction and provide a sense of greater purpose with something exciting to work toward.
A mix of short- and long-term goals is ideal. To apply this concept to your business, we use the Vision/Traction Organizer (VTO).
Here are some examples of goals with a well-defined action plans and specific deadlines. If you’re trying to lose 10 pounds, get specific about your diet, workout plan and deadline, say for an important event or wedding.
If you’re trying to reduce stress, get specific about what you will do to make that happen and by when. Maybe your measurable is to reduce your blood pressure by 10 points.
If you’re trying to increase sales by 20% in the next quarter, then create a 90-day plan to get you there.
We really have two choices: Either we can leave things up to chance and react to life as it happens, or we can take action toward creating the future we envision for business and life. The more successful we become, the more we can contribute to making the world a better place!
So dream big, set good goals and take action!!