Happy New Year! Is this another year when you’ve set some goals for yourself but you’re not sure just how to reach them? For many just setting a resolution makes them feel better and relieved, even when they haven’t taken a single step to fulfilling it! (“The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal)

According the Journal of Clinical Psychology (12/13/2012) 45% of Americans usually make a New Year’s resolution. Are you one of the 45%? Are you part of the 17% who infrequently make them? At the 6-month mark about 46% of those of us who make resolutions are still holding to their commitment. How to stay out of the 54% group that isn’t holding to their resolution? Great question!

While there are any number of techniques to assist you in reaching your goal some have proven to be more effective than others. I don’t know about you but I prefer to use my time with methods that have been shown to work!

Make sure your goal is YOUR goal, not something someone else wants. We can fall into the trap of “shoulds” rather than “this is really what I want.”

Craft a vision or complete picture of that goal. The more detailed we can be in describing a goal, even to ourselves, the easier it is for our minds to wrap around the goal of choice. Be very specific. Rather than “I’m going to stop smoking” try, “I’m going to stop smoking so that my clothing smells good all day, I can breathe easier, I can have fewer concerns about my overall health.” Vague statements aren’t helpful so make your statements laser focused on feelings and concrete objectives. “Working out will allow me to sleep better at night.”

Limit yourself in terms of how many changes you take on at once. While its noble to think this will be the year you lose the weight, get organized, spend more time with your family and save more than you ever have in a year its unlikely you’ll be able to stay focused on all those goals at once. Pick one, two if you must at most.

Fill in your vision with great deal ~ in other words make a plan. Make a plan with small, achievable steps that will boost you closer to your goal with each step. The more clearly stated the more likely you are to carry it out.

Write your plan down, make a vision board or use a method that suits you to keep your goal upfront and center. Our brains are amazing and the more we see and remind ourselves of something the more our brains begin to think its real!

Get an accountability partner. This could be a coach but it could also be a friend who shares your goal or a community such as those in your spin class. Research shows us that most people who find – and stick with – a coach tend to stay on track with their goals (WebMD, “Wellness Coaching: Latest Trend In Fitness”)

Be kind and gentle to yourself. You will likely struggle. Struggle is part of the process of change and change is what we’re ultimately talking about here. When you beat yourself up for not meeting your expectations you tend to quit the goal altogether but when you’re kind to yourself and remember that its all part of the process of change you’re more likely to keep chugging along toward progress.

Want some help or a boost? I’d be happy to help you craft a set of achievable goals, cheer you on as you make progress and learn new things about yourself. You can also sign up for my bi-monthly tips, words of support and encouragement by following the link in the newsletter. Ready to start? Give me a call, drop me a note! I’m excited to help you get where you want to go!