Successfully achieve your goals for 2017

| December 14, 2016

Whether returning to work from a faraway exotic adventure, or a DIY filled summer break, many of us will experience an internal dialogue about our hopes, goals and aspirations for the New Year.

We set ourselves new goals and optimistically dive in. Things often go well initially, though as the year progresses our newly found commitment fades ever more into the distance. Sound familiar?

There are of course many reasons for this. Perhaps the goals are too vague, too lofty, or maybe – if truth be told – they are not that important and so your motivation quickly ebbs.

However, sometimes the reason we don’t succeed lies beyond our direct control. You see, unless the environment around us flexes to accommodate our new habits it can be difficult to maintain momentum, and so one of the most important things to consider are your barriers to success – in other words, the elements which could hinder you from reaching your goals.

For example, you may decide to focus on a better work-life balance by taking regular lunch breaks, yet you have constantly scheduled lunchtime meetings, you are understaffed so can’t afford yourself a break, your office culture dictates that you take lunch at your desk etc. Unless you address these barriers, sustainable change can be difficult.

Use these pointers to help enhance your chances of sustained change:

Identify your barriers to success and decide how to overcome them.   For instance, do you need to delegate more effectively? Do you need to hire? Can you block out your diary during lunch times so that no meetings are booked? How about a regular lunch date with a friend, an exercise class or a recreational activity forcing you out of the office once in a while? Addressing these issues upfront will increase your probability of sticking to your goals.

Even the best laid plans can go wrong, so pre-empt setbacks to help you set more realistic goals. For example, aim to go for a lunch time walk three out of five days a week, and consider anything more than three a bonus.

Remember that habit formation is complex, takes time and is often incremental. If you slip-up it’s never too late to get back on track and minimise the long term impact of your setback.   A bad week does not spell failure – rather it suggests that a recalibration is required. Do this by reviewing your goals (they may have changed), examining your barriers to success, and re-establishing your expectations and approach.
Remember that overnight transformations are extremely rare – gradual change is far more feasible and impactful, and can lead to a real sense of achievement. Keep at it and best of luck for 2017 !