- Simplify your goals - One of the biggest mistakes that we can make when setting goals is to be too ambitious too soon. Being motivated while setting a goal tends to underplay the difficulty. Motivation won’t last so instead of starting big and failing quickly, start small. Make a small micro resolution that will help you get started and build some momentum. Then increase the effort to achieve the desired result.
- Become Flexible - If you strive to achieve something and are running into obstacles that you didn’t anticipate, be flexible in your approach. Make adjustments in order to truly find the right process for achieving the resolution.
- Create process goals - Most people only create outcome goals as resolutions. Outcome goals point to the final result. They can be to lose 5 pounds, save $5,000, write a book, etc. The problem with these goals is that they don’t address the how part of the goal. Instead shift your goals to reflect process goals which will focus primarily on what you have to do to reach those levels. Set a goal to exercise for 10 minutes a day, skip the daily latte, write 500 words a day etc.
- Break down your goal into small chunks - Going after a big goal is overwhelming and we tend to underestimate the complexity of the goal. Take the large goal and break it down so that you truly know what you will have to do to accomplish it. Then attack the small chunks which will ultimately lead you to success.
- Have fun - Whatever your goals are, don’t make them too harsh. If you can incorporate aspects that you enjoy then you will be much more likely to stick with them. Making them too unenjoyable will cause you to rely too heavily on willpower.
- Be lenient - Everyone gets off track. Sometimes it happens within the first week and sometimes it takes a few months. But at some point something will come up and you will get off track. Learn to be lenient in these situations. Don’t give yourself a huge guilt trip. Instead say that it is fine that you got off track and you will get back to it tomorrow. If you build a great process then a missed day become pointless. But if you struggle to get back on track because you are guilting yourself to death (which isn’t a motivator!) then a missed day becomes two, then three, then suddenly getting back on track seems impossible. As early as possible, let go of any guilt and simply get back to it.
- Learn how to turn your goals into system and habit changes - The best way to accomplish a goal is to address it systematically. What can you do to adjust the process, routine, habit, etc. to change a pattern in your life for the better. If you start to look at these patterns to improve you will find that improvement is more than possible, it becomes likely.
Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve. This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.