For many of us, a new year provides the perfect opportunity to think about our lives and really look to the future. It’s also a time to look at the past - particularly the last year - and think about everything we achieved and what we wish we’d done a little differently.
The top ten resolutions for last year were:
Look familiar? That’s probably because they’re on your list of resolutions this year too as according to the Mental Health Foundation, a massive 80% of us fail to achieve our New Year’s Resolutions each year.
Sarah, an NLP coach with Canary Coaching, says that “one of the main reasons that people don’t achieve their goals is that they set unreasonable and vague targets which don’t fit in with the rest of their lives – somewhere down the line, usually around February, they realise that they haven’t left room for anything else, and then the pressure builds and they quit”.
Would you like to quit quitting this year? Take a look at Sarah’s NLP based advice for sticking with your New Year goals:
Firstly, make sure your resolution is an achievable goal, rather than a pie in the sky dream – this quick tool (PECSAW) will help – work out answers for the following sections:
Positive - Talk in terms of what you do want rather than what you want to give up e.g. 'I want to play the guitar, I want to be a size 10, I want to be a non-smoker, I want to speak Italian.'
Evidence - What will be evidence that you’ve achieved the goal? Think about what will you see and hear. e.g. 'I’ll see my family singing along with me', or 'I’ll hear people say "You look well!".' List as many as you can.
Context - Frame the context in which you want to have these things e.g. 'I want to play the guitar in the evenings with my family,' or 'I want to be a size 10 in July and for the rest of the year after that.'
Self-Achievable - This is probably the most important. If you’re relying on the behaviour of someone else to fulfill a goal, you don’t have control over whether you do it. So rather than ‘I want to have a published novel’, how about ‘I want to have finished writing my novel’.
Advantages and Disadvantages - Consider these carefully. What will be the benefits of being able to speak another language? What will be the drawbacks of training for the marathon – especially during the winter months? Considering these and acknowledging them means you’re much more likely to achieve as you’re going into the goal knowing about the hurdles you may face.
Worthwhile - A final check. What will achieving this do for you? What are the benefits? What will it help you to avoid?
Using the PECSAW tool makes a ‘dream’ seem real and turns it into ‘well-formed outcome’. You might want to go on from this into making a more solid timetable or timeline and ask for support from members of your family and friends.
So there you go. Don’t be another statistic – create a well formed goal and get on with it.
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