Let me guess: you, just like the great majority of other people, have set some special targets for the 2015. You want to challenge yourself and have already planned to learn a new language, pick up some crazy dance moves or decided to finish learn how to masterfully play a long-forgotten guitar. New Years resolutions or simply a targeted self-improvement is a shared American hobby, which, unfortunately, fails pretty often: according to the research performed by University of Scranton, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions. According to the study, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Where’s the failure, you may ask and what are the secrets behind those who succeed? Experts say that the biggest secret lies within keeping the resolutions simple and attainable.
Keep it simple
Be realistic and judge yourself carefully whether you can feasibly reach your goal throughout a year. Keep it short and simple: if your resolutions’ list exceeds 10 you can be fairly certain that soon you’ll forget what you have even wanted to achieve. According to the researchers, a small number (1-3) of attainable goals is better than a huge list of goals that a fairly hard to reach. Be realistic and evaluate your abilities and attainability of goals: can you actually do that? Can you achieve it? What is needed to achieve a goal? Set up a list of actions and work towards the goal.
Set up “deadlines” and make it tangible
Once you have managed to write down a short list you have to keep working towards your goal. If you set up some deadlines your work becomes easier, experts say. Set up a certain half-way target, fx. “spend 2 hours every Sunday on learning French grammar” and try to turn your purpose into a small tradition which you will try to do on a specific time. If it doesn’t work out, set up some metrics for your goal which you could actually “check” afterwards, fx. “learn 20 new Danish words until Thursday”.
As soon as you start thinking that you goal can be “postponed” you can be certain that the goal will not be reached. Benjamin Franklin once said, “never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today”. Keeping that in mind you should utilize an opportunity to do whatever you have hoped for this year as soon as you have an extra free minute.