As 2014 comes to a close, many of us look toward starting off on the right foot in 2015. About 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8 percent achieve their goals for the new year! Want to be in the 8 percent that succeeds? Here is the best way to reach your New Year’s resolutions. It all comes down to creating the right “systems” to reach your goals.
Goals are important to set (click here to learn more setting SMART Goals) so you know what to aim for. But unless you know the “how” and the “process,” no matter how great your resolutions, chances are you will fall into the other 92 percent. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Understand the Difference Between Goals and Systems. A goal is where you want to go, a system is how you will get there. One of the top resolutions people make every year is to lose weight. Setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in six months is a SMART Goal. Eating healthier, cutting back portions, and exercising consistently is a SMART system. If you are in school, getting all A’s and a 4.0 is a SMART goal.
Developing good study habits, getting tutors, and keeping a disciplined study time is a SMART system. If you have a goal to get out of debt, then saving more and spending less is your system. Your system sets a framework and foundation needed to meet any goals you set. Systems-based thinking is not about hitting a certain number but sticking to a process where you can continually build upon your progress.
- Commit To A System, Not A Goal. You cannot get results by just setting goals, but you can get results by just setting a system. Let’s say that, as a coach, you are ignoring the goal of winning a championship but focused on a system of making sure your team practices effectively and efficiently every day. Would you still get results?
If as a small-business owner, you ignore the goal of becoming a million-dollar business and focus on a system of successful sales, marketing and operations, would you still get results? I definitely think so! If success is only tied to a certain goal, it increases stress and reduces happiness, especially if you don’t reach them. Also it is common that people reach goals through bad habits or by sheer luck.
But, if you focus on creating the right system, you can learn to enjoy the current moment while improving at the same time. The combination of a SMART goal and system is the secret to long-term success!
- Let Go Of The Need For Immediate Results. If people investing today expect a large return tomorrow, they most likely will be disappointed. But if they stick to a system of disciplined investing and the right asset allocation, they will be more likely to get the results they want over time.
Consistent systems help people avoid emotional decisions if goals aren’t met immediately or even after they meet them. If you focus everything on meeting a goal, what happens afterward? I have a friend who made it a goal to get in shape to run a marathon. After meeting the goal, he stopped training altogether, since the goal was no longer there to motivate him. But if his system was to continue training on a regular basis, it would be far more effective over the long term.
In the end, systems prevent you from a yo-yo effect of working on a goal and not working on one. It helps you be consistent and continue to get feedback so you know what to adjust to make the process better. If the right system is there, goals aren’t the end but the means to building the right system.