With the new year not far away, a lot of people start talking about ‘new year’s resolutions’. Do they work or don’t they? Are they worth setting or just a waste of time?

Well, research indicates that 25 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week. Another 60 percent of people abandon them within six months. Interestingly, the average person makes the same New Year’s resolutions 10 times without success. Amazingly, even after a heart attack, only 14 percent of patients make any meaningful change around eating or exercise.

What’s the point? Change is hard! And New Year’s resolutions don’t tend to work … but goal setting does!

Psychological studies reveal that the simple act of setting goals then writing down them down increases your likelihood of achieving those goals by 42 percent. There’s power in written goals.

Now I’m sure that some of you LOVE setting goals. If you do, you probably know about SMART Goals.

  • S stands for Specific. They’re not vague or general. 
  • M stands for Measurable. They are quantifiable.
  • A stands for Actionable. You can do something about them.
  • R stands for Realistic. They might be difficult but they are possible.
  • T stands for Time-Bound. They have a deadline – a date for completion.

Saying I want to lose weight is not a SMART goal. But writing down, “I want to reduce my weight to 95 kg by the 31st December” is. That was one of my goals for this year. 

Simply saying I want to get better at helping other leaders is not a SMART goal. But writing down that, “I will complete a Diploma of Professional Coaching by 30th June 2021” is. That’s one of my current goals.

On the other hand, I am sure some of you don’t even like the word GOAL! It all sounds a bit corporate to you. I understand. 

So why not think about your life in terms of your next steps?

Think back through the roles we discussed in last’s week’s episode – the many hats that you wear. What are your current roles? What kind of a person do you want to be in each role? What would you like to accomplish in each area this coming year? Now start thinking about your next steps to ensure that vision you have for your life becomes more of a reality this coming year. 

With little or no effort, we tend to settle into old patterns and habits. It takes a great degree of effort to escape the inertia of the comfort zone. That’s why next steps are so important. They motivate us to move forward, to leave familiar, comfortable terrain and explore new frontiers.

One other insight … best-selling author Jim Collins encourages business leaders to set 5 new goals for their business at the beginning of each year … and decide to STOP doing 5 things. The magic is in deciding what to STOP. You can’t keep adding to your life year after year. You have to STOP doing some things to create the space, time, and energy to ADD new things 

Let’s recap our main points:

  1. Carefully crafting written goals is more effective than making New Year’s resolutions. 
  2. Consider what you want to STOP doing in order to make room for new things in your life.
  3. Set some compelling next steps for each role in your life – ones that you will be excited to work towards.

That’s all for today. 

See you next week!

You can watch this episode on the Soul Food YouTube Channel.

Recommending Reading: Your Best Year Yet by Michael Hyatt and Getting Things Done by David Allen.

2 thoughts on “Soul Food Episode 17 – Next Steps

  1. Hi Mark – Great Advice – Two years back was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes- change had to happen – putting your research into place and it worked – setting a goal(s) r3ally does work. No sweet food for me – after two years my weight dropped from 89 kg to 71 kg – and feel great – being mindful everyday – everywhere – every action. Have a great Christmas as we Celebrate the Birth of Jesus 🇦🇺😁👍

    1. What a wonderful story, Ernie! I’m so pleased to hear that. Thanks for sharing and all the best for the Christmas season to you too.

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