Answer 7 Questions to Set an Achievable Resolution

Over 50% of people who set resolutions quit before succeeding. This 7-Step Process for planning an achievable resolution will increase your chances of success. Consider what result you want and need. Consider what characteristic you have that, if developed, could make you more capable.

Shifting Focus

Resolutions people set in recent decades included goals like “lose weight” and “save more money” in the Top 3 Types. People are increasingly setting goals to add “meaning” and “purpose” in life. More are setting “process” goals like “outline my plan” because in the process of writing a mission and vision, goals, and resolutions, we can identify our callings better and our capacities needed to succeed. The probability of taking action increases because we are more likely to internalize the expanded expectations and choose priorities over “hanging out” and “passing time” and share intent with an accountability partner! The process of outlining your plan with key goals, adding how many hours weekly you need to succeed, and assessing how much time you actually spend on priorities may provide the breakthrough you need to fulfill more obvious goals that elude you.

The foundation of your accomplishing is your capacity. Consider adding a resolution to develop who you are and what you can do. It’s often good to have goals like “new job” or “more income” or “improve relationships” though if you face a “Goliath” such as addiction to narcotics, smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, anger, or other bad habits, you may need to transform your capacity before you have a good chance at the goals for gaining tangible successes.

“Be, Know, and Do” is used by some of the U.S. Military. Ask and answer who you need to be, what you need to know, and what you need to do to fulfill your resolution, To “be” or become often calls for change or capacity building in character and competence. You may go to the “next level” by assessing time use and improving habits. If you improve your plan and sense of purpose, your work ethic can improve. You could achieve “tipping point” by improving your energy through better sleep, diet, and exercise. You could rise from the metaphorical 211 degrees of heat to 212 degrees to boil and add exponential power by improving one characteristic or one habit. Consider this personal change as a resolution along with one that focuses on tangible results like developing a plan, losing weight, gaining muscle, or saving a specific amount for a good purpose.

To Plan, Decide, and Act to Achieve, Improve, Solve, Change, Transform

I developed this 7-Step Method to help my seminar students who often set the same “New Year Resolution” year after year. Both they and I have done better identifying priorities and taking action.

7 Steps to Set a Resolution that increase your chance of success:

If you answer these seven questions as an outline for your plan, you will boost likelihood of success. You will better internalize the results you seek and why you should follow through, plus have a plan that helps you invest enough time to give you a chance to succeed. Research—mine and others—suggests over 50% of people quit on resolutions, most within one month.

  1. Mission (Purpose)
  2. Vision & Goals (Desired Results)
  3. Solutions (Strategy that could work if implemented)
  4. Motivation (Results if you succeed, if you quit, why you should persevere)
  5. Choice (Decision on if the resolution results are worth the time and resources)
  6. Systems and Structures for Success (Create automatic actions for success)
  7. Assessment and Accountability (Integrity and feedback)

Main reasons for failing:

  1. Lose focus on the result, benefit, and commitment felt at the time of setting the resolution. There is science behind the benefit of writing your resolution result and plan plus reading regularly to remember and internalize.
  2. Never truly get started because they do not plan for the hours and times to invest, which includes appointments with self and others, plus identifying what to reduce to make time for the new priorities. If you need 5-10 hours per week to get something done and do not plan for or implement that time commitment, most fail and often never know why. This often requires new habits or at least re-defining balance for awhile. An Olympic athlete or a working professional going back to school at night for a few years usually chooses to invest more time in the bigger goal and less time in less important activities like excessive tv, social media, or hanging out (note: “excessive” because some of those can be good unless it gets excessive and shifts from good renewal to excessive escapism). The average person spends over 20 hours weekly watching tv—the dedicated Olympian or parent going to school to make a better life makes better choices—at least until the resolution is completed.

3 Short Stories of Succeeding using this Method:

Writing books. Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Retired, 1943-2017) and I wrote two books, Professionalism Under Stress and Patriotism in Action, on time and budget using my 7 Step Method. We used the plan template to outline what we wanted to do, why, and how, then decided together and signed the accountability partner agreement. If you want to keep a promise, ask a West Point graduate trained in doing “the harder right” to be your partner. If you have a big enough “why” and internalize the importance to you and others you value, plus outline a plan with potential to succeed, then persist, you can do most anything.

Graduating school. I finished my doctoral dissertation and graduated a year faster than most in my class mainly because I realized early on I needed to invest more hours in the main thing that final year–research and writing on my dissertation. Like most students, I felt motivated and busy though an honest assessment of how I was spending my time motivated me to make changes in time priorities that made the difference.

Stopping bad habits. A grandmother attended my weekend workshop. She confessed, she had tried to quit smoking for years. Question 4 helped her finally succeed: Motivation. She wanted to live to see her grandchildren graduate school. I suggested she post a photo of her grandchildren on her mirror and ask daily, which is most important: “my grandchildren or my cigarettes?” She grinned at the suggestion, paused, thought, agreed, then she quit smoking. She internalized her big “why” and that made the difference.

Ready to take action?

This and more content are provided for you in the planbook. To see or print a complimentary copy of the planbook you can use to outline your goals for the 7 Areas of Life, plus plan an achievable resolution:

You can attend a workshop on Thursday, January 18, 3:45-5, at Troy University if a student, faculty, staff, or a guest. Make a reservation on EventBrite or write to us for a complimentary ticket.

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Achievable Resolutions

Posted on January 1, 2018 by Dr. David Dyson

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