For the last ten years or so, I have made New Year’s resolutions but haven’t kept up with them for longer than a few months. Lately, my lack of consistency has been bothering me. I started researching on how to be more consistent with goals and resolutions and believe it or not, this is a common struggle.
Studies show about 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions; however, only 8% achieve goals. While these numbers may be overwhelmingly disappointing, I would like to take a different approach to setting goals and provide direction on how to achieve them.
If you search the most common New Year’s resolutions over the last decade, you will come across goals like losing weight, saving money, getting a better job, or even getting a job. Notice how all of these goals are quite vague. While these goals are reasonable, they aren’t necessarily tangible. Being more specific with our desires and the game plan to achieve them can make a significant impact. For example, if our goal is to become healthier, it’s important to specifically lay out strategies on how to become healthier, such as: 1) Limit eating out to twice a week; 2) Make a healthy lunch at home to take to work. This will give us more control over our calorie intake. By specifying the steps, we increase our chances of achieving our goals.
Another major obstacle we encounter is setting unrealistic goals. For example, when we decide to exercise “more often”. Many times, we go from exercising zero times a week to 6 times a week. We may keep up with this routine for about a month, because of motivation. After setting such high standards, we may resort to not working out at all. Similarly, when we are looking for work, we sometimes decide to apply to as many jobs as we can in a day and forget to focus on quality. There is no doubt that the more positions we apply to, the higher chances of our resume getting selected. However, employers also want to see that we are detail-oriented and have what it takes to be a part of their organization. Thus, tailoring resumes to what companies are looking for plays a major part in the selection process. Researching job leads carefully and customizing resumes with attention to detail, which may mean applying to less positions a day, is more sustainable and has better long-term results, including decreasing chances of burning out and giving up.
The last and in my opinion best tip is to set up bimonthly check-ins. Reevaluate your plans every two weeks and make necessary changes that will enable you to achieve your goals. Let’s say you decide to update your knowledge by signing up for an online course towards a certification, which will also make your resume stand out. Although this course doesn’t have a time limit, you are determined to complete it in six months. After getting started, you realize it’s taking longer than you have imagined and slowly start putting it off. Eventually, you stop studying. To avoid this situation, reevaluate your goals and consider adjustments. In this case, possibly extend the timeline from six months to a year, and think about making changes that will improve the likelihood of completing the course, such as study times and environment. Also, be consistent with your check-ins to be accountable for your progress.
With determination, these tips will help you to maintain consistency. I too struggle with keeping my resolutions, but incorporating these tools will help me to achieve my goals. I now know that instead of saying, “I would like to exercise more”, I will resolve to say, “I will walk during my lunch break at least three times a week.” What steps will you take to achieve your goals?
GCF LearnFree: Job Success – Setting Goals.
Career OneStop: Set SMART goals to get ahead in your career..
We Think Twice: Your Goals. Your Future.
We Think Twice: Goal-Setting Planner (although created for young adults, it’s a good guide to help you get started).
Soha Mohammed is a Regional Navigator for Workforce Solutions. As a native Houstonian and graduate from University of Houston with a Bechelor of Arts in Corporate Communications, she is passionate about health and wellness, specifically workplace wellness, and strives to achieve her fitness goals daily and share her knowledge with others.