Business Women Connect: Resolutions vs. Goal Setting

For most average people, it is right around this fl ip of the calendar page, when New Year’s Resolutions are already a distant memory. Just for fun, I googled the defi nition of New Year’s Resolution: a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the fi rst day of the year. It is an American tradition to quickly ramble off a list of things like “I am going to work out more, eat less sugar, spend more time with family, get organized…” Does that list look familiar? It is almost expected that our New Year’s Resolutions will be quickly forgotten and become nothing but a stab of guilt in our side, yet another failure chalked up on our life’s scoreboard.

Maybe, that is precisely what they are designed to be! A check list of exactly what we do not want in our life. Making resolutions is a place to start in our evaluation of our life. We can only begin to know what we DO want, once we know what we DON’T want! Resolutions should be a beginning to an evaluation of the past and a leap board to setting goals for the future. How big a game do you want to play?

There was a well-known study of the Harvard University class of '53. In this study, the researchers revealed that only 10 percent of the students had established any goals at all, and that only three percent of the men and women in that class had written their goals down on paper. Twenty years later, the researchers again interviewed those very same former class members. They were involved in their careers and had families now. The three percent who two decades earlier had written down their goals were now worth more in economic terms than the entire remaining 97 percent of the class combined! Of course fi nancial success isn't everything, but this study clearly shows the results of writing down your goals.

I would like to share a few simple steps to get you on track to living the life of your dreams. Today, take some time to REALLY refl ect about your dreams. How do you see yourself 1 year from now, 3 years, 5 years & even 10 years? Look at all areas of your life – spiritual, emotional, physical, social, fi nancial, intellectual. Write down some of your past successes. Make a list of 50 items you would like to accomplish in the next 10 years. Write down everything from organizing your closet, to starting your own business, to writing a book, to owning your own private jet!

Now pick the top 3 to 4 realistic goals that you know are attainable this year. Make sure this realistic goal is very specifi c and is measurable. Example – not “I want to lose weight” but “I want to lose 10 pounds by June 1, I will eat more healthy foods and exercise every day.” Not “I want to make more money” but “I want a $10,000 a year raise by June 1 – I will add value to my company by coming in earlier every day.”

A very important and frequently over looked component to taking the action necessary to achieving success is the accountability factor! Share your goal with a positive, successful person you trust to encourage you. When someone knows what your goals are, they help hold you accountable. Being accountable to your committed, disciplined, and sustained action is the fi nal ingredient in the miracle process of materializing any achievement you can conceive.

Shelly Aristizabal is excited to be the new partner at Business Women Connect, Inc. She is an author, speaker and passionate student of personal development and entrepreneurism.