Do you make a bunch of resolutions for the new year and by January 14th can barely remember what they were? Do you make the same resolutions every year, only to fail?
You are not alone! Millions of people make resolutions each year and less than half of them are able to stick with them for 6 months!
So, how do you make it stick? There are no easy answers, but there are some guidelines that can improve your likelihood of success.
First recognize resolutions for what they are...goals. (Just like your goal to get out of debt with CAF!) As with all goals it is important to be SMART. Setting SMART goals improves the probability you will achieve success. Each SMART goal (or resolution) includes 5 points of reference to consider as you set your goals.
Specific- Using positive language, a goal should be easily understood and include a definite expected result. (Which is more specific? - ‘I will follow my budget’; or ‘I will develop my financial skills to be better able to stick to my budget and make informed credit choices that support my long term goals ’?)
Measurable—A SMART goal is measurable. The SMART goal utilizes targets to curb or redirect efforts as necessary to ensure final results meet your specific expectations. (For example: ‘I will become debt free’; or ‘I will become debt free by consistently making my monthly payments to Credit Advisors Foundation and monitoring my progress on a monthly basis by reviewing my creditor and CAF statements’.)
Attainable—Although goals may present a challenge, goals must not be out of reach or unrealistic. (Let’s face it; if you have never run a marathon before and you do not intend to train, odds are you will not be able to attain your goal of winning the New York Marathon. But you can get out of debt!)
Relevant—A SMART goal needs to be relevant. Goals must maintain and support personal values. SMART goals will strengthen your dreams and purpose. (‘I intend to use all my resources to be debt free at the end of 2004 by accelerating my debt management program with CAF’.)
Timely—While timelines need to be realistic, they also ensure that targets are met without delays and final results are appropriate and beneficial. What other tips do professional goal setters suggest? First, you can make a resolution anytime, not just January 1st.
Keep track of your goals, tape reminders on your mirror (or better yet, in your wallet) and plan ahead to handle obstacles.
Have a strong initial commitment to make a change, and be persistent. If your first attempt does not succeed — do not give up—give it another go! Never give up on your goal because of one slip in your progress. If it is important enough to have made a goal about, it is important enough to try again.
Work rewards into
your plan to achieve
While you don’t have to explain the details of your plan, sharing the anticipated goal result with those around you, can provide support and encourage your efforts, as well as, assist you to stay motivated and focused. Form a support team. Find like minded goal-setters and ask them to share their techniques for success. (Remember those people you referred to CAF?)
Reward yourself! Small rewards at target points along the way, and a final reward for accomplishing your goal are also great motivators. Remember, rewards don’t have to cost a lot or anything at all, for that matter, to be effective. Lastly, keep your sense of humor!
Sometimes the only way we can keep striving to achieve a goal is to be able to laugh at ourselves and all the different ways we have learned that don’t work.