PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
On January 1, everyone seems to have an idea of how they want their new year to look, from healthier habits to learning new skills. But we’ve all made New Year’s resolutions that we’ve quickly broken. When you slip back into your usual routine after that fresh “new year” feeling, it’s hard to stick to the commitments we’ve made for ourselves.
If you want 2020 to be the year that you make and keep your resolutions, you need a strategy to hold yourself accountable. We asked a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members their best tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions. Follow their advice to help yourself achieve your goals this year.
Forbes Coaches Council members share how to make and achieve your goals this year.
1. Write It Down On Paper
It has been proven in studies that the process of writing down—by hand—your goals, aims or resolutions will make you more likely to achieve them. Indeed, a study by the Dominican University in California concluded that you were 42% more likely to achieve written down goals. – Simon Ellett, Jager Consulting
2. Make It Fun
Add some spirit to your 2020 goals. You probably know that goals should be specific and time-bound, yet goals are a joy to achieve when you are playful at attaining them! Reward yourself with prizes at significant goalposts. Make goals inspiring and fun to accomplish. Review your goals often, checking in that you still want to achieve this goal. Enjoy the journey and success! – Rita Coco, Rita Coco ConsultingForbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
3. Make New Week’s, Not New Year’s, Resolutions
Making New Year’s resolutions can seem appealing, but to commit to something year-long is a huge undertaking. And the disappointment of not meeting it can weigh heavy since it implies that you’ve failed majorly. A better approach is to make commitments weekly. This might include renewing commitments from previous weeks. Not meeting a weekly commitment will amount to a “blip” of a setback. – David J. Smith, David J. Smith Consulting, LLC
4. Skip Resolutions And Make Declarations
Traditional resolutions tend to fall apart before January ends. Instead, make three (and only three) life- or career-changing declarations for 2020. For example, “My body fat percentage will be X,” “I will close the largest deal of my career,” or “I will learn to play the piano.” The themes matter little as long as they fit your appetite for learning, growth and adventure. Declare them clearly! – John Hittler, Evoking Genius
5. Create A Vision Board
One of the best ways to really crystallize your New Year’s resolutions is to create a vision board. Start by collecting images and words that represent what you’d like to achieve and how you’d like to feel. Put these together into a collage. Then sit back and truly connect to the vision you have for yourself. Put your vision board somewhere where you can see it every day. Then make it happen! – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy
6. Prepare Yourself For Change
I’ve studied “readiness for change” for many years, and it is clear that the No. 1 reason resolutions don’t stick is that people don’t do the work to prepare themselves for the change. Lasting change doesn’t happen until your mind is ready, which includes seeing more pros to change than cons. This takes mental work. Lasting change doesn’t happen when you just make yourself do something different. – Susan Madsen, Utah Valley University & Madsen Global Leadership
7. Make Your Goals Incremental
Many know to make a goal S.M.A.R.T. Go one step further and make it incremental. It’s helpful to have smaller milestones to spur regular action, limit procrastination and measure progress. Rather than “eat lunch with 10 people in the corporate department in the next six months,” define the goal as, “eat lunch with two people in the corporate department each month for the next six months.” – Precious Williams Owodunni, Mountaintop Consulting
8. Pay Attention To Your Limiting Thinking
Focusing on your goals is an important part of meeting your goals. The second and much less common part is focusing on competing commitments. We consciously commit to our resolutions like growing the business, and at the same time we are unconsciously committed to avoiding rejection. This competing commitment can derail our ability to accomplish our resolutions. – Maureen Metcalf, Innovative Leadership Institute
9. Evaluate Your Habits
Resolutions rarely work because we have a tendency to focus on the big goal itself and neglect to focus on the actions you must take to reach that goal. Whenever you embark on a new goal or vision, you must first evaluate which habits you need to change or acquire to achieve success. Regardless of what you want to achieve, if you don’t focus on what it takes to get there, you never will. – Carol Parker Walsh, Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC
10. Create A Team Of Accountability Partners
I have a small group of trusted friends and colleagues with whom I meet monthly. We start off the year sharing resolutions, goals and strategy plans. Each month, we keep each other accountable and on track toward achieving milestones toward our plans. The combination of groupthink, coaching and the occasional “kick in the rear” is extremely powerful and inspiring. – Karan Rhodes, Shockingly Different Leadership
11. Set Goals That Align With Your Everyday Life
Resolutions are nice to have, but they are often not accomplished because we are too busy with other things. A good way to ensure you get them done is to turn them into written goals that are exclusively yours and in harmony with your everyday life. Additionally, ensure these goals are specific and written in a positive tone. Make them so that you can measure and attain them. – Jorge Gutierrez, BMOC Group
12. Map It Out And Take Action
You wouldn’t have been given the dream if you didn’t have the power to move into it today. Sit down, map it out, find resources and take action. You can always perfect the plan as you go. – Miranda VonFricken, Miranda VonFricken Mastermind Coaching
13. Focus On Micro-Changes
Resolutions are mostly a waste of time. They are too big, too ambitious and require too much energy. Avoid feeling like a failure and embrace incremental improvement instead. What micro-change can you make this month? When you master that, tackle something else. Small changes add up to big wins. Make changes in alignment with your priorities and goals for long-term fulfillment. – Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC
14. Measure And Share Your Progress
We manage what we measure. Translate your New Year’s resolutions into specific behaviors and action steps and write those down as a checklist. Then measure your progress every day by marking a simple “yes” or “no” next to each item on the list. At the end of the week, review your progress and share it with a close partner. It is difficult to lie to ourselves when we see our progress on paper. – Orly Maravankin Ph.D., PCC, Edge Consulting, Inc
15. Aim To Be Better Than You Were Yesterday
Be better than you were yesterday. Personal and business lives are always evolving, and we encounter obstacles that we have to overcome. The goal is not to be perfect or to achieve something spectacular. Hence progress and improvement can only be measured in context. Being better in one area than you were yesterday is not only simple to understand but easy to achieve. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group