Why You Won’t Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution and How You CAN!
If you didn’t achieve your New Year’s resolution in 2023 don’t feel too bad, 92% of everyone else who made a resolution also failed to achieve it! If you’re in your 20’s statistically you have a 49% better chance of achieving your New Year’s resolution than people in my age bracket, 40+ where it’s as low as 14%. Maybe it’s because we’re old, wise and happy enough already!
So why do we fail to make hay while the New Year’s sun is shining? It’s simple really. It’s because as humans we love to make things more complicated than they need to be and that means we set ourselves up to be disappointed. How do we know we’re doing that? Because in between making things complicated for ourselves, we have ‘moments of clarity’, when everything just seems to make sense and fall into place and the weight of the world temporarily lifts off our shoulders.
So if we know we have clarity SOMETIMES, how do we get it MORE? By keeping things simple, simple, so simple you’ll find yourself saying “that’s ridiculous, how could I possibly get anything done when it’s that simple”. Let’s explore simplicity a little more.
KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid:
Firstly, what is it in life that gets you excited? What do you like working on, investing time and energy into that make you feel good when you accomplish it? Even when it’s hard. Whatever that ”thing” is, that’s your purpose. Write it down! Now set three goals that CLEARLY line up with doing what you love and what you’re passionate about. I can hear you now! “Here we go, more goal setting, yawn, heard it all before”. Hang in there…
The biggest mistake we make with our goals is they’re too big! Human beings are an overconfident bunch, that’s how we survive, so your default is to set a target that’s TOO AMBITIOUS. We either set an unrealistically short time frame or if we have some experience with goal setting, a realistic one, that’s too far away in the future, so we inevitably lose interest on the way. To ensure we have achieved our single most important goal we actually have to set THREE goals. No more, no less.
1. Goal 1 (The Big One) – What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?
2. Goal 2 (C’mon, just keep going) – What do you want to achieve in next 3 months?
3. Goal 3 (How do I get there?) – What do you want to achieve at the end of the week?
Now don’t get disappointed if you don’t achieve your weekly goals, as really they’re more like GUIDES and help us to adjust what it is we do each week to keep us progressing towards our big twelve-month goal!
The three-month goal is the little steps along the way where we pat ourselves on the back as we leap each small incremental step towards THE BIG ONE. These are the goals that keep us motivated, not too big, not too far in the future, just right.
These “on the way” goals also help us to understand whether our big goal is realistic and whether we should maybe adjust it a little. Just a little, no more than 3 more months, or you’ll never get there…
Find a wingman and communicate your goals:
We are our own worst cheer squad. Find a friend or peer support group that has an affiliation with your purpose and ask the simple question “Hey, how about we work together to achieve this, I know I could really use the help”. Here’s a life hack, odds are they need the help too! Second life hack, for those who’s NYR is “Find someone to have a relationship with” this is an awesome meaningful icebreaker!
Your “wingy” is there to help you check that your goals are still realistic and to step in and help you when you’re finding the going is getting tough
There are no shortcuts, how to grind out the days:
Sorry folks, there are no shortcuts. Achieving your life’s purpose is hard work. Good, fulfilling and meaningful hard work. We also know life is hectic and there is no way our carefully laid plans and newly found wingman are going the synchronise with the real world. So, we need to make sure we are realistic and that we adjust our activities week to week. We get sick, we have work and family demands and the gazillion distractions that come with a digital age. However, no matter what you do, even if it’s FIVE MINUTES, do a little something that aligns to “The Big One”.
You will FAIL along the way to achieving this big goal. It’s GUARANTEED!! That’s a GOOD thing and you’ll need to learn to enjoy riding the failure train. “Enjoy failing?” I can imagine you saying right now so let me clarify. Every time you fail, you learn a lesson and it’s these lessons you will learn to love. They’ll also make you a more interesting person!
To capture these lessons and to stop repeating the same mistakes again and again, you need to Deebs. What’s Deebs? Shh, I am going to share with you a little fighter pilot secret that was developed over 60 years ago, it’s so good it’s still used today and it allowed me to learn about happiness, financial independence and life in general. Big Stuff. It’s called “Debriefing”. If that’s a little too CIA for you, we used to call it a Deba or my favourite, Deebs. It’s the best way to learn from failure and ensure success.
Make time to Debrief (Deebs)
At the end of the week ask yourself three simple questions, something I call the three R’s.
1. RESULT – What did I want to do this week and what did I actually do?
2. REASON – Why did I achieve/not achieve what I wanted to?
3. RESPONSE -What will I do next week to improve/sustain or rest
RESULT – this one is pretty easy. What did you set out to do vs what you achieved
REASON – Ask yourself, very honestly why you achieved this result. If the result is GOOD, keeping doing what you’re doing. If it’s not what you were hoping then ask yourself why. Notice I wrote “ask yourself why” rather than “Find and excuse and blame someone else. The reason we don’t achieve our goals rests with the way we approach it. Not something external to you. If you’re stumped at Question number 2 then ask your wingman or this thing called the internet! If you’re still struggling try googling “Who is an expert at (Insert what you’re struggling with)”, get their phone number and give them a ring! Simples..
RESPONSE – This is the fun part, where we can play around with our plan and set all the exciting tasks (stuff we do) for the week ahead that will ultimately assist us to achieve our goals, and in time, our dreams.
For all those hours in between enjoy life and do your simple daily activities that align ultimately with your sense of purpose, The Big One and achieving your New Year’s resolution!!!!
About the author:
Christian “Boo” Boucousis is an Entrepreneur, Author and Executive Coach as well as the head of Afterburner Australia. He served in the Royal Australian Air Force for over 11 years flying fighter aircraft. Here he developed a lifelong passion for leadership, planning, and execution of complex scenarios and projects where the achievement of a result under extreme time pressure was the norm. During this career, he also had the opportunity to Instruct at the Regions Premier Planning Institution, the Joint Warfare Centre where he delivered programs to military and civil organizations where the focus was the development of strategic and operational plans for military, civilian and military cooperative operations as well as humanitarian support operations. Boo was the co-author of “On Time On Target”; a book about getting things done consistently and being successful despite all the complexities in life today. He hopes those who read this book are then able to cut through the ‘noise’ that exists today and develop the habits of success.