It's officially resolution season. And you're probably already thinking about what you'd like to improve on this year. Everyone tends to set ambitious goals in January, but sticking to them is what really matters.
According to a recent survey, at least 70 % of us make New Year's resolutions. The Angus Reid poll found most of these goals focus on improving our physical well-being, and developing better money management skills. The survey shows that 54% of us seek to get in better shape and 32% of us want to improve our financial situation.
Try as we might, though, life has a tendency of getting in the way. An Ipsos-Reid poll found that only 22% of us keep the resolutions we originally set out to accomplish when the year begins.
So, why do so many of us give up so quickly? We know it's going to be hard work to accomplish our goals. The excuses run the gamut, whether it's lack of time and energy, losing interest or not putting ourselves in the position to succeed. For example, when trying to lose weight, we often become obsessed with exercising regularly, but neglect our nutrition, eating too many empty calorie foods and not enough wholesome sources like fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean sources of protein. The same is true for financial aspirations. We successfully implement some helpful strategies, like saving, but not others, like establishing a budget.
As a result, we'll often quit altogether, hopeful that maybe next year will truly be the one that is different. It becomes a vicious cycle.
The key is to roll with the punches. In other words, instead of quitting when obstacles are thrown your way, learn from them and try to not let the hurdles deter you from the end goal. Everyone encounters failure - what matters most is that you don't let it get you down and keep trying.
Whatever your goals are over the next year, here are a few things to help you succeed:
1. Embrace Failure
Winston Churchill may have said it best: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."
Some of the most successful people in history were met with stumbling block after stumbling block. J.K. Rowling, noted author of the beloved children's book series Harry Potter, tried to get her story published for years, but kept getting turned down. Her perseverance obviously paid off, as Harry Potter is one of the most popular stories of all time. The same can be said for many other household names.
2. Get a G.R.I.P.
As noted by People Matters contributor Rini Srivastava, people who don't let failure be their downfall have four things in common. They can be summarized using the acronym "GRIP." G stands for Guts. This means having the courage to continue no matter how hard it gets. R is for Resolution. There are no "ifs," "ands" or "buts" to resolve. It involves only one word do. I stands for Initiative. This means remembering what inspired you to act in the first place and understanding that the process wouldn't be easy, but would be worth it in the end. Finally, P is short for Perseverance. When you feel like you can't give anymore, perseverance is the voice inside you that says "don't you dare quit."
3. Pause and Reflect
When failure occurs, we often don't look deeper into the why we get stuck on the fact that it happened. It hurts to not accomplish what we set our hearts on, especially when we've tried over and over again. The trick is to use failure as a learning experience. Ask yourself, "Why was I unsuccessful?" "What can I do this time that will make the difference?" The answer may be a process of elimination. Even if you fail the next time with an alternative strategy, you're one step closer to finding the right one.
Success isn't a single event; it's a process. By approaching each goal with the understanding that you may stumble, failure can end up being the foundation you need to victory. As the old saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.