It’s that time of the year again when most of us set goals and resolutions. Whether we feel that what will make our 2016 a fantastic year would be to increase our income, recruit more clients, get that promotion, or lose a few pounds, we feel 100% committed to righting the wrongs and avoiding the mistakes of the previous year. The reality though, according to a 2007 study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, is that only 12 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions are able to successfully achieve them. So why is it that most of us don’t seem to really follow through on those goals? Well, the answer lies in the methodology most of us use to set them.
Typically, we set goals just like we set our thermostat. That means we assign specific and measurable parameters with concrete, quantifiable outcomes. So, since we are clear on what we want, setting goals is not the problem. What holds most of us back is not knowing our intention behind what we seem to desire, or why we are wanting to achieve such goals. Therefore, if you want to be part of the 12 percent of people who achieve their New Year’s resolutions, I suggest that you develop your goals in a different way, one that ensures you include the most important ingredient: intention.
Intention is the heart and mind connection, that inner drive and desire that serves as the source of motivation that gives you the fuel to overcome any obstacles you may encounter while trying to achieve your goals. Intention is what allows you to be clear about why you want to achieve anything you desire, how your life will be different, and how you will feel when you accomplish that goal – not just about the quantifiable parameter associated with it. In other words, your intention or your “why” behind your goals is your seed for success. Bringing intention into your goals is what makes the difference and ensures that you stay on the course to achieve them, since both the aspiration and inspiration come from your heart.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this point. Say you have the desire to get in shape, one of the most common goals at this time of the year. The first thing to do is to take a step back and ask yourself why you really want to accomplish that goal and whether that desire is coming from your heart. Ask yourself that question over and over until you get to the answer that feels heart-centered. Let’s assume that your first answer was: “to lose weight”. While that is certainly a legitimate reason behind getting in shape, there are so many more heart-centered reasons, like feeling better, living longer and being able to do more activities with friends and family. Those are the types of sentiments that will make you feel empowered and motivated. If you can’t find a heart-centered intention behind your desire, maybe it doesn’t deserve to be high on your list of goals because, most likely, you will not follow through. The key to achieving your goals is focusing on the ones that come from your heart.
If you are up for it, I suggest you try out the process below as you set your own goals for 2016:
1. Identify a couple of big desires you have for the year (lose weight, make more money, or take your business to a specific new level).
2. Discover the intention behind each of those desires by finding the “why” you want to achieve them so you get to the very core or the reason and inner motivation for wanting to attain them using the process described above. Be clear about the feelings or emotions behind each one and how you will feel when you achieve them.
3. Now turn your main inner desires into SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound). This is where you get technical, placing a firm number or target on your desires, such us: “I will lose 20 pounds by June 15th.” And remember to keep your intention behind each of your goals at the forefront. “I will lose 20 pounds by June 15th to feel energized, healthy and self-confident”.
4. Develop an action plan to set you along your path towards achieving your goals. This could be obtaining a gym membership, getting up earlier to exercise three times per week before you go to work, cooking healthy meals at home five times per week, or having only one dessert on weekends. Map out all actions and their necessary time and order in which they need to take place so you can get moving. This is the path you will follow.
5. Identify any roadblocks – Decide on a course of action to overcome those barriers and add that to your plan. For example, you may want to get up earlier three times a week to go to the gym, but taking your kids to school may get in the way. To overcome this, you could set up a carpool, or get support from your spouse.
6. Do things that will conserve your willpower to follow through on those actions. Willpower is essentially mental energy that allows you to get things done. It gets depleted as you exert self-control, so make sure you resist things that could tempt you down a path that is not in accordance with your goals. For instance, if losing weight is one of your goals, don’t even allow yourself the possibility of having sweet temptations around. Or if you start feeling lazy, schedule a workout with a trainer or friend so you won’t need to make that decision in the first place and drain that willpower.
7. Commit yourself. Making yourself accountable, committing to take action and giving yourself a consequence for falling behind are all critical for your success. Sharing your goal with another individual that could help you be accountable and cheer you on to keep going would be very helpful (e.g., a spouse, friend, or coach). It is important to consistently share your progress, and have someone help you keep focused and motivated, as well as overcome any obstacles you encounter on your path.
8. Lastly, envision your intention every morning: Picture yourself as accomplishing each of your goals as part of your morning routine and affirm yourself as achieving them. For example, picture how you would look and feel after losing the desired weight, and affirm your inner desire: “I am a healthy, self-confident person and I feel energized in my ideal weight.”
You are now ready to align your goals with your heart’s intentions, and become unstoppable in manifesting your heart’s desires in 2016!
Wishing you a New Year filled with love, joy and much success!