It is that time of year again, where we send the old year packing, and usher the New Year into it’s seat. Having always been interested in the psychology of goals, naturally I have an intense curiosity about who makes goals, how do they make them, and what do they set their goals for.
Recently I stumbled upon a piece of research that was particularly eye opening from University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, republished in Statistic Brain. Below you will see some of the more interesting findings when it comes to New Years Resolutions.
|News Years Resolution Statistics||Data|
|Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions||45%|
|Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions||17%|
|Percent of Americans who absolutlely never make New Year’s Resolutions||38%|
|Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution||8%|
|Percent who have infrequent success||49%|
|Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year||24%|
|People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions|
Maybe contrary to what we believe is that the majority of people do not make or infrequently make a resolution. According to this study around 55%. Now what may not be so surprising is that 92% are NOT successful in achieving their resolution! This begs the question if it is that high of a failure rate…why bother?
We may find the answer when we look at the top 10 things people make a resolution about.
|Rank||Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2014|
|Spend Less, Save More|
|Enjoy Life to the Fullest|
|Staying Fit and Healthy|
|Learn Something Exciting|
|Help Others in Their Dreams|
|Fall in Love|
|Spend More Time with Family|
When you look at this list what is the first thing you notice? Perhaps it is that most of these resolutions are difficult to measure. For instance, how will you accurately measure if you are accurately “helping others with their dreams”? How about “Enjoying life to the fullest”?
Business Resolutions that Get Results
One of the issues we already see is that quite often we set nebulous goals. That is they are so general in nature we have no way of measuring them. One thing is certain if you have a goal and it can be measured you will have a much higher probability of achieving the goal.
2. Break the Goal Down into Smaller Behaviors
I cannot emphasize this enough. One of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed in my life is years ago watching Dan O’Brien training at Washington State University for the Olympic Decathlon and how every day he trained he had a goal for improvement that would eventually lead to the greater goal he needed to accomplish for success in the Olympics.
Your business needs to look at this the same way. If for example you want to make 120 more sales, you would have to average 12 more sales a month. Which means you would have to average 4 extra sales per week. This means you have to make an extra sale every other day.
Now comes the part most businesses ignore. What are the behaviors you have to do to make that extra sale every other day? Is it making 10 more phone calls per week? Making 20 more contacts to past clients for referrals? Adding a person who is on call 24 hours a day to increase the speed of response to an internet or social media inquiry?
The fact is your goals or resolutions will not change on their own, because you wish or hope it will. Things change because something in your behavior changes. When you identify specifically what small behaviors you must do on a daily basis it makes it easier to achieve them, and will enable to have a higher probability of reaching your goal or resolution. must be consistent.
It’s not just identifying these small behaviors that will enable to achieve your goals or the measurement of them. We need consequences to keep them consistent. You may not like consequences, but like it or not reinforcement and punishment work. The simplest way to attach consequences to your resolutions or goals is to have accountability. If you simply have someone or a few people who you trust that will truly hold you accountable then provide them with your goals and the daily and weekly behaviors that you will perform to achieve them.
What will you find? Chances are the simple pat on the back can be positively reinforcing, but perhaps more powerful is the negative reinforcement. That is you will more than likely not want to tell someone you failed, so to avoid the shame and turn off the feelings of failure you will be more likely to perform those desired behaviors at a higher rate of success.
If you will do these three things throughout the course of the year for 52 weeks, you will find that you will have a greater likelihood of following through your goals and increasing your chances of meeting them.
I can promise you this for sure if you will do them, you will come closer to achieving the results you were looking for than 92% of the people who simply fail.
Stay Successful My Friends!
Jay Izso, Internet Doctor®