How to avoid Resolutionism

One of the most common things that I run into when consulting with clients is that around this time of year, they become goal-focused and start to look back at their previous year and what goals they hit and those they didn’t and then for at least a short time they focus ahead on the upcoming year and the goals they would like to achieve.  This is a yearly ritual and it is good to have this focus.  Of course, the problem is, however, that in many cases this is the extent of their goal setting habit.  Once per year for a short time or even one evening or day and maybe even while having a few drinks and then their life gets back to it usual hectic pace and the goals fall away.

The purpose of this post is to systematically attempt to give you tools to prevent yourself from falling into the trap of resolutionism (or failing to achieve your goals). Here are the strategies I’ve seen work best for clients, friends and myself.

1) Set a SMART goal.

This is the old acronym that suggests setting a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely or Time-based.  This is the basic standard by which goals should be set in order to have any chance of successfully achieving them.  I discussed SMART goals in a previous post HERE.

2) Think ahead and plan for potential obstacles.

This is a huge step that almost nobody takes. By itself, it can be the difference between achieving your goals and failing to do so.  It is exactly how it sounds.  Figure out what might get in your way from achieving your goals and create plans, alternative steps, etc… to help you deal with that in the moment. The statement failing to plan is planning to fail can also apply to this step for sure.

3) Enlist an accountability partner.

This person/group’s role is to help you through the tough times and to hold your feet to the fire if you’re not making progress as you would like to. They are often also seeking similar goals as you, and in this way can be leaned on, and you by them, when times become challenging.  This is an invaluable resource.

4) Share your goals with those closest to you.

This step is key. It could be your family, room mates or co-workers or all of the above. Mainly, the people who you interact with on a daily basis. It’s key to share your goals with them, because you will be changing the usual daily dance that happens in the way you interact with those closest to you and they need to know why, so they can either choose to get on board and support your or not. But they need to be able to make an informed decision. This way, if you choose to not partake in the office Friday pizza day, or wing night at supper with the family, they will understand why and not put heaps of peer pressure on you because they think you are rejecting their love.1) Set a SMART goal.

5) Burn your bridges so you can’t retreat.

This is a major step – it could take many forms. One of the best, is to take before photos and share them with friends/family/groups that can keep you accountable and then post your follow up photos as well.  This is great, because if you don’t do the work, your results won’t improve visually and people will hold you accountable for this.

I hope you find this post useful and that it will help you to avoid being a Resolutionist and actually be one of the few who sets a goal and achieves it!

Cheers and all the best in 2020!

Dan T

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