If you recently set some audacious goals for the new year, good for you! You are among the 45% of Americans who took the plunge to write down your goals, and research shows that simply writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.
However, as a rational optimist, I need to level with you: research also shows that only 8% of individuals who set resolutions actually achieve them. I don’t say this to discourage you, but rather to call you to the mat. Are you ready to rise above the naysayers and make your dreams a reality? If so, read on.
To make positive, sustainable change in your life, here are five strategies to help you reach your goals—and make them stick!
1. Focus on one goal
While you might be tempted to tackle twenty new habits all at once, research shows that homing in on just one habit is far more effective. Practice that habit for 21 days in a row until it becomes ingrained; then you can pick up another habit to try.
2. Understand your motivation
Rather than just pursuing a goal because you feel like you ought to do something, take a moment to connect why you want to do something. To help you do so, check out the Live Intentionally app that helps you prioritize your schedule around your intentions for the day.
3. Remember that practice makes perfect
Falling off the horse is part of the learning process; getting back on the horse is where change happens. Cognitive brain training programs like Happify can help reinforce positive thinking and give you new skills to help accomplish your goals.
4. Involve others
Consider setting goals with a group or sharing your personal goals with close friends to increase your level of accountability. Social support is important to long-term success and happiness, so tap into one of your most powerful success accelerants by finding friends who share similar goals with you. Apps like MyFitnessPal have built-in tools to share goal progress and to encourage your friends.
5. Track your progress
Keep a log of your progress. While some people love to track habits with pen and paper, there are also a number of amazing apps that can help you see your progress over time. In advance of writing this blog, I decided to test out as many apps aimed at habit change as I could. What I learned through this process was that selecting an app to help me build positive habits was equally as hard as doing the habits themselves. There are about 100 apps on the market, ranging from free to $5 per month, and most look incredibly similar. So how do you know which apps are best? Let me save you some time and energy by sharing a few of my favorites by their core values. If you are looking for a goal tracker that is
- Simple—check out Productive or Balanced
- Fun—check out Habitica or Habitify
- Informative—check out Way of Life
- Good, but expensive—check out Strides or Habitloop
While no app can’t make you achieve your goals, if you are like me, you need all the help you can get. Positive sustainable change begins with mindset and ends with action. Let’s make this the year that we beat the odds and truly stick to our goals and resolutions!
If you need some extra social support and encouragement, you can find me on social media @amyblankson, where I regularly post encouraging tips and happy hacks to help you balance well-being in the digital era.
Amy Blankson, aka the ‘Happy Tech Girl,’ is on a quest to find strategies to help individuals balance productivity and well-being in the digital era. Amy, with her brother Shawn Achor, co-founded GoodThink, which brings the principles of positive psychology to life and works with organizations such as Google, NASA and the US Army. Her upcoming book is called The Future of Happiness: 5 Modern Strategies for Balancing Productivity and Well-being in the Digital Era (April 2017).