Lifestyle — January 21, 2019 at 8:51 am

Resolution Reboot

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Have your 2019 resolutions waned?  While a substantial number of goals are set at the start of a new year, many people struggle to get these goals off the ground. It’s the reason why gyms are notoriously packed in January but deserted by mid-February. Achieving a goal is likened to cooking an exquisite meal; you need quality ingredients, a detailed recipe and the right tools if you want to produce something worth eating. The same applies to your goals. Without effective goals, a well-developed action plan and the means to execute it, you’re likely to flounder and order takeout – so to speak.

Start “SMART”

Your action plan can only be as effective as the goal it’s based upon. If your goals are vague, that ambiguity can contaminate your action plan and stunt your progress. To overcome this, try evaluating your goals using the SMART goal-setting framework. Based on the acronym, for your goal to be effective it should target a distinct area for improvement (Specific), have a way of gauging your progress (Measurable), be circumstantially feasible (Achievable), be aligned with other objectives in your life (Relevant), and have firm deadlines to ensure accountability (Time-oriented). Wanting to generate more sales leads, which is an ambiguous goal, can be transformed using the SMART framework into wanting to increase your monthly average number of quality leads by 15% within six months. Once you’ve defined the parameters of your goal, it becomes easier to devise an effective action plan that keeps you committed to achieving it.

Systematically address setbacks

Progress isn’t always a straight line – having to try, fail, and tactically adapt can be fundamental to achieving a challenging long-term goal. However, a discouraging setback can blur both the progress you’ve made and the path forward to success, which is why you should factor this potentiality into your action plan. Set firm appointments with yourself at regular intervals to reflect on the progress you’ve made towards your goal, what you feel has and hasn’t been working, any obstacles you’ve encountered or anticipate, and how you plan to overcome them. You may choose to do this quarterly, monthly, or even weekly depending on the time frame and complexity of your goal. These checkpoints can help you refine your action plan so when an obstacle comes along, you learn to pivot instead of coming to a full-stop.

Anchor new activities to existing habits

It can be comfortable to stick to a routine, considering that approximately 40% of our reported activities in a day are habitual. However, goals often require us to modify our routine by introducing new, productive activities. Until these activities develop into habits through repetition, they can feel laborious and easily slip through the cracks. Fortunately, you can accelerate this process by anchoring new activities to existing habits. For example, say a salesperson has a goal to keep his or her CRM database up-to-date and regularly makes prospecting phone calls each day. These two actions could be bundled together  – updating his or her CRM immediately after each call – to ensure the former gets completed each day. Over time, the new goal-oriented behavior can develop into a productive habit that keeps you on track to achieve your goal.

Goal-setting can be an excellent tool for creating purpose and keeping focus on what’s important in your life. By better understanding the relationship between the planning and execution of a goal, you can reboot your resolutions and make 2019 a year of action.

Contributor: Chad Morris, Staff Writer

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the information presented is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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