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7 steps to stick to your goals for 2016

With the New Year, there usually comes a list of resolutions and objectives we want to achieve. But the stats aren’t in our favor, as less than 10% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. The exact reasons as to why only such a small number of individuals can stick to them after six months are not entirely known, but psychologists have found that we’re more likely to succeed if we break them into smaller, more specific goals that are measurable and time-based.

After decades of research, Mr. Edwin Locke, Ph.D., has found that all the goal-achieving science boils down to seven steps, which we share here with you!

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1) Pick one goal only

If you’re setting a self-regulation goal where you have to keep saying no to yourself, such as drinking less coffee or cutting down on sweets, it’s important to focus on just one thing. According to Caroline Adams Miller, we wake up with a certain amount of self-regulation resolve and it gets depleted as you go on using it, so if you try to regulate yourself on a lot of things at once, it will get difficult.

2) Make it concrete and challenging

Make sure the goal you picked it’s not too easy. While it feels great to cross something off your checklist and know you’ve accomplished something, if you set the goal bar too low, they won’t be motivating. Studies show that the objectives we stick with are specific, challenging and can be measured.

3) Are you learning or doing?

Once you have a concrete goal, determine if it is something you already know how to do or something you need to learn. For example, if you’re trying to save money and want X amount in the bank by the end of the year, that’s something you’re doing. If you still need to figure out how much money you want to save or the best way to save money, then you have a learning goal.

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4) Break it into smaller, short-term goals

With the same money example, your goal will seem a lot easier when you take something big (saving $2,500 in one year) and break it into more manageable amounts (saving $208 per month). That way you can keep track of your progress throughout the year.

5) Who are you surrounding yourself with?

There’s solid science to back the belief that says we become the average of the people we surround ourselves with. It’s called the social contagion theory, which proposes the idea that the people around us have a major influence on how we act. So, If you want to lose weight, it doesn’t help to hang with people that loves fast food, and if you wish to save money, it’s best to limit time with friends who like to go shopping.

6) Choose your environment well

Hanging with the right people is only half the job, as you also need to surround yourself with the right things. That means eliminating tempting triggers while also having reminders of our long-term goals.

7) Add accountability

Feedback is an essential part of successfully achieving your goals. So implementing metrics is important to track your progress, but it will also help to have people around you who make you stick to your goals. Some examples are a walking buddy or a standing date with a friend to hang out at home on Friday night, instead of spending money by going out.

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