It’s almost here again; the holiday season, the time when we take stock of all our successes and failures, and conveniently indulge in the annual ritual of resolutions. I used to be a ‘New Year Resolution Ritualist’. But, when I checked my list at the end of every year, I realized it left me more discouraged than satisfied. Apparently, I am not alone, but I have always known that. So New Year’s resolutions became my bête noire. That said, if you are one of the one in a million who consistently achieves their annual resolutions, then congratulations because you are a rare breed indeed! According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions hovers around 80 percent with goal-setters losing their resolve by mid-February. Let’s face it; this figure is conservative and kind. So, what’s the big deal? Why did I fail to achieve my resolutions?
Setting unrealistic goals year on year set me up to fail, yet I did it routinely without realizing it. It was a ritual everyone indulged in, so I had to do it too. You may wonder, what were these goals? Here are some of my past resolutions.
- I must land my dream job at all costs.
- I must travel abroad, come what may.
- I must get rich this year.
- I must get married this year.
These were but a few of my past resolutions. Looking back now, I find almost all of them ridiculous for the simple reason that there was no exact plan towards achieving any of these goals. They were just broad pronouncements voiced into thin air with the hope that some miracle would convert them into reality. I do believe in miracles, but I’m also a realist. Some didn’t synchronize with my personality. With others, I realized I had neither the passion nor the clarity to see them through. I loved my comfort zone.
What Did I Do Instead
I decided to consciously abstain from ‘following the crowd’ in making broad resolution pronouncements. Instead, I took a close look at where I was professionally, socially, spiritually, and economically and broke down each segment into 1. Current Situation 2. Needs, and 3. Wants. I wrote it all on a piece of paper, typed it on my PC, and made a screenshot to use as my desktop background. Now, I have it boldly displayed. It’s a daily reminder, even when I’m unable to read the hard copy.
As an example, allow me to use the broad phrase, “I must get rich this year” for theoretical analysis.
|Current Situation|||| Need ||||||Want |||
|Not Saving Enough||Need to save $50 a day||$ 10,000|
The example above shows that the person is not saving enough and that he/she needs to save $50 a day to get $10,000 in 200 days. Now, this can be a realistic goal or resolution if you have a regular job. However, even with a steady job, you can still fail if you don’t make the significant sacrifices required to attain the goal. So, maybe, you’d have to postpone that holiday trip or suspend buying the new car, apartment, shoe, dress, bag, etc. You may even want to consider living like a ‘hermit’ if it’s worth it.
Now, what if you don’t have a regular job and don’t know where to begin? If you have access to a computer and the internet, there are many possibilities. Several businesses allow you to bring referrals to their companies and get paid for it, find them. You can also look at investing in index funds. Just do some research. Do you have a skill that you are passionate about and want to share it with the rest of the world? Great! Create videos and upload them to YouTube. Google will share ad revenue with you. Rent part of your apartment on Airbnb or Vrbo. Do you like sharing your opinion? Several user testing companies would pay you to test and share your opinion on products for their clients. Again, all you would need is a computer and internet connection. These are but a few entrepreneurial opportunities that can get you on your feet.
That is an example of one goal. Your target may be to get fitter, find your dream job, get married, travel overseas for a holiday, pay your student loan, buy a new home, etc., it doesn’t matter. As long as you follow the same plan with point-point focus, you’re bound to succeed. In some instances, you would have to look at the long term. It also means that realistically, some of your goals may have to extend into the next year. That’s precisely the reason why there’s no need for any broad new resolution every year. Your resolve should be to continue with what’s working and tweak the areas that require tweaking. By detailing your intentions and goals in writing and reading them daily, they become lodged permanently in your sub-conscience. This practice automates your actions towards achieving your goals, and you won’t even realize it until you get there. Be realistic with your timeline, and you will start seeing results.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Lamptey is a social/collaboration entrepreneur, internet marketing guide, web developer, and freelance blogger.