January is a month for setting resolutions, starting resolutions and pretty soon, giving up on those resolutions. Why does this happen to us every year? Why do we give up on our goals/resolutions that we set with absolute certainty on the 31st of December and give it up by the 3rd of January?
Let's take a minute to understand it!
In 1960s, Edwin Locke put forward a theory and this theory states that "goal setting is essentially linked to goal completion. In simple words, goals indicate and give direction to an individual about what needs to be done and how much efforts are required to be put in and complete it".
What are the features of this theory?
- The willingness to work towards the attainment of goal.
- Specific and clear goal lead to fulfilment of goals.
- Goals should be meaningful, realistic and challenging. This gives an individual pride and triumph when they attain it.
BUT! Goal setting behaviours have certain necessities such as:
- Self-efficacy: This is an individuals' confidence and self-esteem that they believe that they have the potential to attain their goals.
- Goal commitment: They should believe in their resolutions and will not abandon their resolutions.
Even if you do abandon a specific goal or that goal does not go according to plan then you should possess a Growth Mindset! This is the belief that your goals/abilities aren't fixed, but rather that they can be developed and strengthened with time.
How can one attain your resolutions/goals?
1. Have a desire - What is that one thing that you truly desire? That one thing that makes you excited, keeps you up at night, makes you feel butterflies in your stomach?
2. Believe - You have to absolutely believe you can achieve your goal. If you start by doubting your possibilities one thing will happen for sure - you will fail.
3. Write it down - There is something magical about writing things down. Psychologists have proven that "we become more committed to what we write down versus what we say". So write down your goals.
4. Analyse your starting point - You know where you want to get. Analysing where you are now allows you to understand what you will need to do. Be honest with yourself.
5. Identify the obstacles - I can guarantee that you will encounter difficulties on your way to achieving your desired outcome. But don't let that discourage you. Everybody who has achieved great goals in their lives have had to overcome some kind of obstacles.
6. Determine the additional knowledge and skill you need - You have a goal. Now ask yourself why is it that this goal is not yet a reality? You probably need to get some new skills and knowledge to achieve it.
7. Determine the people you'll need - At more than one time you will need help from somebody. Everyone needs someone to believe in them then why do you choose to pursue your resolutions on your own?
8. Make a plan - You've probably heard the saying that "what doesn't get planned doesn't get done". Or as Benjamin Franklin once said: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
9. Visualize - This is a very important part for you to achieve your goals, unfortunately often ignored. Visual Imagery is a great tool to help you get where you want to get and its powers are almost boundless.
10. Never give up! Never ever give up! - The key to achieving your goal is persistence. No matter how much talent you have, if you don't persist, you might just give up right before your big breakthrough. Don't let any failures discourage you.
11. Build Accountability into Your Life - Be responsible for your goals, you made them, and hence, you should be held accountable!
12. Don't Fill Yourself with False Hope - Setting unrealistic resolutions lead to false hope and this leads to dejection when one cannot attain it.
13. Never Underestimate the Power of Positivity - And remember to Stay Positive, even when your goals seem hard and unattainable, just believe in yourself and trust the belief that your loved ones have on you and you will achieve them!
Broadly adapted from Brian Tracy's How to achieve your goals.
Article by Shruthi Rao
Psychologist, Kauvery Hospital