Resolutions are intended to help people stay on track and plan for a better future.
Unfortunately, the success rate of resolutions appears to be quite low. According to a survey by Statistic Brain, 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions but less then 10 percent say they achieve their goals.
“I have set goals for the year but have not written them down yet,” says SLCC student Jordan Franson. Franson, like many other Americans, has set some health and financial goals such as running a half-marathon this year and saving money to buy a house.
In the same survey, Statistic Brain also reports that more than half of individuals who set a resolution fail to keep it after six months, and two out of five fail after just one month.
SLCC education major Alisha Hopkin is one of those who has struggled to achieve her goals. Hopkin says she has kept just one of the three goals she set for herself this year.
“I feel like I don’t have the time to fulfill them,” she says.
For many, life gets busy and goals fall out of reach, so here are five simple steps to help you set and achieve your goals.
1. Set SMART goals
When setting goals, remember the SMART acronym.
- Specific — Have an end goal in mind. Instead of a general goal, like getting in shape, add detail, like going to the gym three days a week.
- Measurable — Use a number or value that can be tracked. If a goal is to lose weight, find out how many pounds you need to lose to get to a healthy range.
- Attainable — Choose a goal that can actually be completed.
- Realistic — Understand who you are and what you have the ability to do.
- Timely — Set an end date for the goal. For example, lose 10 pounds by May 31.
2. Write them down
Research has shown that writing things down increases the likelihood of remembering information. So writing down a goal and putting it in a visible place can help to reinforce the goal.
3. Set goals within your goals
If possible, break down a larger goal into smaller weekly or monthly goals. Splitting a goal into timely segments can make it feel more achievable, improving motivation and confidence.
4. Track your progress
Find a tool to reflect on accomplishments and feelings. Download one of many tracking apps or simply use pen and paper to keep a journal.
5. Be accountable for them
Share your goals with family and friends, or set a bet that you will achieve your goal; involving others in your goals can increase motivation because someone else will know about the goal and hold you accountable to it.