As far as historians can tell, the origin of New Year’s resolutions goes back over 4000 years to the Babylonians. Their year started in March with a long festival where they would basically try and set the record straight. Anything that had been borrowed would be returned and any outstanding debts should be paid off. Other civilisations and religions have been creating similar traditions ever since, all promoting the idea of a new, fresh start.
But one thing hasn’t changed…
Since the beginning of time people have been making ‘and then breaking’ promises to themselves and others; pledging change, betterment and higher endeavours. Rarely are good intentions carried out in their entirety and there are few who continue resolutions throughout the year. There is an old saying that, ‘those who do not keep clear, written goals usually work for those that do’. And within that flippant statement lies one of the single biggest reasons that most people fail to achieve what they commit to.
A pencil and piece of paper can make all of the difference. Seriously! I am not going to go into all the psychology of why, but studies conclusively prove that writing goals down can make a massive difference to whether or not you achieve them. Without harping on too much about wasted gym memberships, short-lived diets and tipsy teetotallers; an imagined determination ‘alone’ is doomed to fail.
Plan, write, share and achieve…
When it comes to taking your business up a level or into an exciting new venture, a great place to start is with a dream. But to give that dream any substance you need to create a plan around it, or at the very least a route map of smaller steps that will take you there. Start by writing down the goal or destination. Then decide what that means you need to do, in real terms, to get there. If it is a turnover target, for example, you could work out how many new customers you would need to win in total and per month for the entire year. Then write it down! If it is a new venture, then plan out the steps that need to happen, the cost, and the speed at which you will see a return on your investment. This will tell you if it is a viable goal. Then write it down!
Written goals have substance!
Maybe it is just the fact that a piece of paper exists, whereas a thought has no substance. Perhaps the visual stimulus of the words on the paper make it more real. Or could it be that having that intention constantly in front of you, on your desk or pinned to the wall for all to see compels you to act? To be honest, I am not sure myself and maybe nobody knows for certain. But I promise you that writing your goals down works better than simply imagining them.
The next, really important thing is to share your resolutions with other people. It could be those that will need to be involved in the plan or someone whose opinion and approval you value, but make sure it is made public. After all, it is far easier not going to the gym or to keep eating those pies when no one knows that you promised to change!
Happy goal-getting for 2016 and if you need any help (writing your goals down or holding yourself to task), please get in touch.