Dreams & Inspiration

5 Solutions to the Resolution | Achieve Your Goals

It has already been 20 days since New Years Day and you probably have made some resolutions for 2011.  I bet about half of you already have fallen of your track whether it be losing weight, spending time with family, or managing debt.  Of the half that remain only a quarter of you will succeed in actually achieving your goal, according to a 2007 survey of over 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman.

These are some quick solutions to to your resolution blues or reaching your goals, not in any particular order:

1. Self-awareness of Mental Limitations[1] – There is a psychological reason as to why we fail at achieving our goals and may not be related to behavior. Part of the brain that controls our will power, the prefrontal cortex, “is also in charge of keeping us focused, handling short-term memory and solving abstract problems.” This results in too much stimulation in our brains which causes us to lead in to temptations. “In fact, one study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that just walking down a crowded city street was enough to reduce measures of self-control, as all the stimuli stressed out the cortex.”

1.1 Energize the Body – The prefrontal cortex needs to be feed, so that you will have energy to have will-power. Literally, starving yourself can cause change in behavior.

2. Get Focused[1] – When faced with temptations to eat your favorite thing that’s not really good for you, or spending money when you should be saving, you need to distract yourself of these temptations.  For myself, I think of the outcome, “Is it really worth putting my goals on hold for a 5 minute pleasure?”  If you do succumb to your temptations, then ask yourself, “What triggered you to act?”, then “What can I do to prevent it from happening again?”

3. Set a Date – Instead of having a yearly deadline, shorten it to an ideal date.  If you set your goal time line too long,  you will procrastinate and it will never be done.  You’ll tell yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow” but then tomorrow never comes.  So get out your calendar and set a date!

4. Let People Know – When facing something that is very challenging, sometimes we need the support of others or just a little kick in the butt!  For example, if your friends knew you are trying to save money and you were out together at a mall.  You ask your friend if you should buy those hot new shoes of the season, an aware friend will intervene an ask the question, “Do you need it?”,  in that case you will make all the excuses in the world, and then the killer question would be, “Aren’t you trying to save money?”  Sometimes a little support will gear us back in to focus.

5. Track Your Progress – Set milestones along the way for it will keep you motivated!  It is like your personal performance metrics.  Every week check how much you saved, see how much weight you lost, etc.  If you aren’t reaching your milestones, don’t get discouraged, get focused and work harder!

Hopefully this guide you to achieving your goals!

“It is hard giving up old habits, but it is even harder to go against one’s own will.”

How badly do you want it?  If your habits win then your willpower is not truly there!

References: 1. Blame It on the Brain: The latest neuroscience research suggests spreading resolutions out over time is the best approach, Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009

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