Happy New Year! For many, the start of the New Year signifies a clean slate and an opportunity set new goals or hit the re-set button on a particular item that did not get accomplished the previous year. Are you one of the 45% who made a New Year’s resolution this New Year? According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology (1/1/14), 75% of people who make a New Year’s resolution maintain that resolution through the first week. Only 8% of people who make resolutions are successful in achieving their resolution. What gives?
Research shows that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. What does this likely mean? Setting goals and reaching them are about your vision and your view of the outcome of your vision. The more clear you are about what you want to accomplish, the more likely you will be in accomplishing whatever it is you have set out to do. We know that athletes, such as Michael Phelps, used visioning to successfully compete and win his events in the past two summer Olympics. Clarity around what you want to accomplish sets the path for achievement.
As an experiment this semester with my collegiate public speaking students, I told the class that I was giving each one of them an “A” for the course – with a condition that each of them write me a letter, future-dated with the last day of class, due by the next class. In this letter, they are to tell me in explicit detail, their story of how they achieved this “A”. I’ve asked them to place themselves in the future and report on their insights and achievements they gained through the semester. They can only write in the past tense, no future wording such as “I hope” or “I intend” is allowed. Through this exercise, they are participating in the process of visioning. Turning ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors propels us to move past resistance and work towards accomplishing our goals. I anticipate that most of my students will work hard to fulfill the expectations they set for themselves. I look forward to reporting on how this experiment plays out during the next couple of months.
What goal are you working on this New Year that needs more clarity? What is your story about achieving your goal? Your story will push you past your resistance and into your success.