Every new year is accompanied by a list of vows to eat healthy, lose weight, shop less and save more etc. You know the drill. But how effective are these resolutions which invariably fall by the wayside and should we even be making them as opposed to something more concrete and resilient?
Resolutions or goals —
What’s the difference?
According to certified Life Coach Milind Jhadhav, there is a considerable difference between the two. While new year resolutions focus on a commitment to a new habit or a new way of doing things from January 1, a goal is something we set to achieve during or by the end of the year.
“A new year resolution usually has an immediate impact on our day to day life,” says Jhadhav. When it comes to goals however, the action towards them can be taken from Day 1 or a little later in the year as well.”
Both have their own rationale behind it, but Body-Mind-Soul Coach Aruna Muniwsamy (Aradhana) believes that goals hold more value and importance than resolutions. “Unless there is a solid foundation of long term goals, the probability of achieving new year resolutions is very feeble.
Ideally, new year resolution is just another way of pushing ourselves and progressing towards our long term goals,” explains Aradhana.
How does goal-setting help?
Time is the only asset we all have. From doing our laundry to climbing the corporate ladder, there are a gazillion different things trying to get our attention.
With so much on our plate, having goals only helps us prioritise in life, and ease the process of decision making. Aradhana says that having clear and purposeful goals helps us invest our time in only those things that matter.
While driving us out of our comfort zone, the process of achieving a goal is as important as accomplishing the goal itself. “A goal stretches us, challenges us, changes us. And in that it creates us,” explains Jhadhav.
How should we set goals?
Setting our goals can be a tricky task if we don’t know how to make them SMART. Business-Mindset Coach Swati Hegde says, “Setting too many goals can overwhelm you, too few can make you lazy; too hard can frustrate you, too easy can bore you.”
She shares how she likes to set her goals: make them SMART...
S: Specific, so you know what exactly you want to achieve
M: Measurable, so you know what indicates your success
A: Achievable, so you know you can do it but you are going to have to work for it
R: Realistic, so you know it's not so big that you give up halfway through
T: Timely, so you have a deadline holding you accountable
Hegde also throws light upon achievement goals versus habit goals. “‘I want $7000 months’ is an achievement goal (long-term result) but ‘I want to connect with five ideal clients every day’ is a habit goal (daily result).
I like to set an even mix of habit and achievement goals so I work towards my goals every day, week, or month instead of just striving for one dream in the distance.”
Along with keeping your goals SMART, it’s equally important to keep them holistic as well. Sometimes people are so focussed on just one aspect of their lives they tend to neglect the other aspects. “What good is it if someone has loads of money but is going through divorce and is having health issues? One needs to proactively cater to all aspects of life,” says Aradhana.
How do we not lose focus?
Making smart and holistic goals is the foundation stone of achieving them. But that doesn’t save us from the most common derailment from our goals — lack of focus.
If one isn’t focused while pursuing their goals, it is highly unlikely that they will achieve it, irrespective of how SMART or holistic it is. According to Jhadhav, one of the best ways to stay focussed on your goals is to only concentrate on your WIGs (Wildly Important Goals).
“When you focus on your WIGs you have a higher chances of achieving them. It is better to have two or three Wildly Important Goals on which you can focus your energies instead of 8 or 9 goals, many of which don’t matter as much as the rest,” says Jhadhav. He also suggests an app called ‘Beeminder’ that aids in being on the right track in achieving your goals.
To help us further stay focused, Aradhana lists a few pointers as well...
Don’t have more than three goals.
Make your goals visuals. You could create a vision board, put them on a white board using different coloured markers etc.
Break the goal down into smaller action items and make these part of your routine.
Make your to-do list the night before going to sleep.
Read your goals aloud first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
How to ensure we are on the right path?
While nothing really is a substitute for dedication, hard work and sincerity in achieving our goals, Aradhana shares a few tips that would help us be on the right track of achieving them...
Associate only with positive, ambitious and goal oriented people.
Talk about your goals to as many people as possible. A little social pressure can do wonders in achieving your goals.
Build your board of mentors by reaching out to people who you admire and want to emulate.
Have a bias towards action.