In the business world, 70% of new initiatives fail, resulting in the frustration of going over budget, being late, and/or not delivering expected benefits. Unfortunately, we experience the same transitional heartburn in our personal lives. Over 70% of “resolvers” successfully change through the first week of the New Year, while less than half succeed for six months, and only 8-9% make it the full year. But don’t be discouraged by the statistics, let’s do this thing! Here are five steps to successfully change in 2018.
- Start with five “whys”. Once you have a resolution in mind, ask yourself “why” five times in a row. Why do you want this change? Why start in 2018? What’s the risk of not changing? I mean, what is really driving this change? Get to the root cause and write it down. Having a clear understanding of what is at stake is helpful and powerful motivation.
- Set SMART goals. Determine what you want to achieve, and make sure it is S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound). Set goals that are easy to track, relate back to your motivation, and you know you can achieve. Change is a process and we all change at different paces, so custom-design a plan that’s right for you.
- Have a plan (and a buddy). Don’t be afraid to seek help. There are a ton of websites, apps, blogs, and journals/planners to help you plan (and track) your goals on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, and daily basis. For accountability, it may help share your plans with others and recruit friends or family to serve as your personal cheerleaders. If that doesn’t work, make a monetary commitment, such as a paid gym challenge or a friendly wager. You can bet your bitcoin, I said monetary commitment!
- Remind yourself. Find words and images to serve as your inspirational, rallying cry. Display them at home, the office, your phone’s wallpaper and computer screensaver. Schedule time on your calendar for activities that will help you achieve your goal. Set reminders to periodically track your progress.
- Treat yourself. If you find yourself veering from the happy path, turn back. And if you find yourself wildly succeeding, celebrate.