Studies actually show that only 8 percent of people stick to their goals they set each year. This might not be entirely our fault — it’s no secret that rewiring our brains to consistently perform better habits is a challenge, to say the least.
Luckily, there are some proven solutions to help you reach your goals in 2017 and beyond:
Replace bad behaviors
When Heidi Grant Halvorson, behavioral psychologist and author of 9 Things Successful People Do Differently, spoke to Harvard she revealed that a critical part of achieving goals is having a specific plan for adopting healthier habits and countering bad behaviors.
The trick if you want to reach your goals is to have a concrete, healthy behavior ready to replace the bad ones when they inevitably surface. For instance, if you’re trying to stop procrastination, stop those impulses in their tracks by looking at your to-do list and working on one or two small, manageable tasks.
Think of a mountain climber; when they begin climbing mountains they don’t start with Everest. Our brains are much more likely to stick with a lifestyle change, when we use incremental progress to steadily reinforce new behaviors.
As expert Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of Business Psychology at University College London, tells Harvard, “You want to see change in a positive direction and small improvements … The point is not to get better than others, it’s to get better than the old version of yourself.” Remember, reaching your goals won’t happen overnight, but it will happen eventually by breaking down those small barriers.
All of these tips relate to one particular action: be specific. Goals like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to stop procrastinating” are abstract. Technically, you could drop 5 pounds or write one sentence and achieve your goals — that’s why the experts recommend getting as scientific as possible.
Moreover, getting specific about the when and where you want to reach your goals has been proven to double your success rate.
To the successful, a dream isn’t something achieved by deliberating how to reach it, but rather a specific, well-conceived desire that always happens.
Do you have any tricks that have helped you reach your goals? I’d love to hear them–give me a shout-out on Twitter!