Are you smashing your 2020 New Year resolutions? Chances are you’re not because 80% of us will not achieve those goals! However, I am not about the negativity…let’s turn this back around. (PS If you are reading this and you are smashing those goals- a huge well done! Please feel free to share anything you can that you can attribute to that success as I would love to hear from you)
So as I said 80% of us will not achieve those goals. Notice how I have avoided the use of the word ‘fail.’ And that is completely intentional. Often failure is seen as the polar opposite of success. But how is success possible without failures?
Failure allows us to learn; it allows us to pivot and allows us to find a different avenue and a way forward. Failure helps us to improve and be the best we can be. To bring a real life example to illustrate this point let’s take Richard Branson. Often described as a huge entrepreneurial success; however not all of his business ventures and ideas have gone to plan (Virgin Cola to name one) Did you know his first business venture Student magazine was failing to make money and stay solvent? To help finance the magazine, Branson set up a mail order record company. Which later developed into the Virgin Records empire!
So the original business venture wasn’t a roaring success, but success came from the development, the change in focus and adapting. As well as realising the potential by ‘parking’ the original idea and going down a different avenue. Failure is essential for success- not the opposite.
So if you are sat reading this thinking you have failed already against your resolutions- think again!! You could just be about to embark on your best year yet. As long as you learn, review and adapt. So pause. Reflect. And learn- you have 49 weeks ahead of you to make a difference this year.
Here I explore 5 factors to success (and this is not to say they are the only ones but it certainly gives you a starting point!)
1 Do you have a specific plan to get there, one that is broken down into manageable chunks?
Many of us don’t achieve the goals we set because we don’t plan the route we will take to get from A to B. Without the route we end up wandering aimlessly and never reaching our destination.
And break it down!
Ensure you have a great set of daily intentions that all have the end in mind. By focusing daily you are more likely to reach your goal. Question your actions- if it doesn’t help you reach your goal, do you need to do it? Remember good things don’t just happen overnight. This brings me to my second point…
2. Be realistic.
In terms of your expectations of when, how and how much you will achieve. Do you have the time and resource to invest in the end point you have set out? We’d like to think that given this is one of our big goals for 2020 we would but let me give you an example. Each year I set myself a goal of achieving amazing abs. It sounds ridiculous now I’ve ‘outed’ this recurring goal of mine that I never achieve. However, realistically do I have the time and resource to spend on achieving that goal? If I’m really honest- I simply don’t! And if I’m really really honest I also enjoy food and eating out is a big enjoyment for me that I wouldn’t want to give up.
I can’t commit to the time I need to work out to that extent and sometimes I go for the easier- more unhealthy food options because with a 2 year old, a 1 year old, a puppy, running my own business and the responsibilities of running the home- it just sometimes works better for me to take that option. Now that isn’t to say someone in my exact circumstances would also find this goal unrealistic- because it also comes down to our values and passion and what we choose to prioritise in life. See point 3 below.
3. Is it the right goal?
And what I mean by this is does it reflect our values and our passion. What were our reasons for choosing this goal? Bringing it back to the ‘killer abs’ example, on reflection I realise I set this goal so that I look better physically. I am aspiring to be like the glossy magazines. However this does not align one bit to the things I am passionate about and in no way shape or form does physical appearance feature in my values. I will therefore never prioritise intentions that are related to this particular goal over something else that does drive me from within. The things that I connect with will always take priority. I can now see why I have never been successful in achieving this particular goal. This is because it is not aligned with who I am or what truly drives me.
So this could be just one of your blockers- if you’re sat here wondering why you haven’t achieved your goal yet ask yourself does it align with your passion and values and if it doesn’t- change your goal!
4. Don’t strive for perfection.
All or nothing thinking is a very common cognitive thought distortion. Ever caught yourself saying “oh well I’ve eaten unhealthily now (it’s Tuesday) I’ll start again on Monday.” You then write off the rest of the week- engage in a few more unhealthy days, ready to start again Monday. And adding a few more pounds in the process! No one is perfect. The best athletes; most successful business people; even positive people are not positive 100% of the time. Accept imperfections. Accept set-backs. But don’t then write off days or put off what you know you need to do by using perfectionism as a blocker to success.
5. Are you measuring your success?
‘What gets measured gets done’ is the saying. And it is true. Set what you will measure and at what milestones. This is a great way of tracking progress. It can be really motivational because you see regularly the journey forward. And it can help to keep you motivated to not give up, even when faced with a set back because seeing the journey travelled can keep you focused. Consider your method of measurement carefully and change it if you find you are not motivated by it.
For example let’s take ‘gratitude’ as a new year’s resolution. There are lots of ways you can measure gratitude (such as how you feel each day on a scale of 1-10; or the number of entries written in a gratitude journal) Keep exploring until you find a motivational measure- again you are more likely to reach your goals!
Often it is the way we think about a situation rather than the situation itself that determines our success. How we perceive failure can have an impact on our thought processes. And if these become negative we will lose motivation; engagement with our original goal and these negative thoughts could grow, seeping into other aspects of our lives.
By employing these top tips and changing our thoughts around failure will lead to more positive outcomes and success. Success breeds success and with success comes motivation, confidence and self esteem. These are all key aspects of good positive wellbeing!
Challenge your goals today- whether they are business goals, personal goals or a reflection on your resolutions. They may need tweaking a little bit but you CAN achieve them and if you’re a little off plan you’ve by no means ‘failed.’ Learn, review and pivot and make 2020 your best year yet!
Director, Flourish in Mind Ltd