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Benjamin Drury - December 20, 2015

Set goals but work the process

It’s that time of year again when we look forward twelve months and imagine what our life could be like. We resolve to change and be better, be fitter, work harder, achieve more, love more often, etc., etc.

But according to research 92%* of us will fail. Here’s why and how to fix it!

1. People set resolutions not goals

Resolutions stare you down and call you a loser. They are set up to make you fail. You resolve that you ‘will’ or ‘won’t’ do a certain action. It demands perfection. Anything less than perfection and your resolution is broken. It’s over. You’re done. You’ve joined the 92%.

Goals, on the other hand are a destination. A place you intend to arrive. It doesn’t matter if you take a bit of a detour. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes on route, you can still get there. You can pick yourself up and head towards your goal. It doesn’t need to be perfect, you just need to get there eventually.

How freeing does that feel?

It’s the difference between “I’m absolutely definitely going to go to the gym three times a week” and “I’m going to get fit and reach my optimum weight of 10.5st by the end of March”. One taunts you, the other inspires you.

But watch out! Goals do need a bit more managing, which brings me to the second failure of the 92%.

2. People have no process

Goals are not enough. On their own they are useless. A mere day dream. Anyone can set goals. The key to reaching them is action. In order to reach your goals you need to have a process. A system of action and review. A way to make sure you do something and then check whether it’s moving you towards your goal.

It’s no good saying “I’m going to get fit and reach my optimum weight of 10.5st by the end of March” then sit on the sofa and wait for March to roll round and see if it worked. It won’t!

Without a plan to get there, a goal is useless. To reach our “get fit” goal , we’ll need to regularly exercise and work towards it. And more importantly (this is the bit that most people forget) we’ll need to review progress regularly. For our “get fit” goal we might sit down on a Sunday night and see how we did this week. Did I get some exercise? Did I make it to the gym? Then we need to plan some more actions for the following week, say “3 mile run on Tuesday; Swimming on Saturday.” Then rinse and repeat!

So instead of resolutions this year try this:
1. Set your goals.
2. Create an action/review process.
3. Work the process!
(4. if it helps, get someone to hold you accountable – but that’s a whole other blog post!)

What are you goals for 2016? Share in the comments below and win a free coaching session.

* Reference: Forbes.com January 2013.

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