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Make Your Resolutions and Goals Actually Stick in ‘22

This article was originally published by Brien Dunphy on LinkedIn.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to succeed, go together.” -African Proverb

We have all read the articles about, and personally experienced, the futility of New Year’s resolutions… but like most people, at the turn of the calendar page we make them yet again anyway.

Ultimately, we do it because having goals is both critical to our success and invigorating to our psyche. The start of a new year is an opportune time to stop and evaluate the last year and make plans for next.

Like most things in life, the how matters. Well-meaning resolutions are mostly broken within a few weeks of setting them. Gym memberships purchased in December are quietly canceled by March, diets are long forgotten, our best-laid plans set aside, shelved, discarded. We start the year off with excitement, which quickly fizzles with the pressures of everyday life.

The antidote to this chronic malady is first to be intentional about our success. Spend time in thought summarizing last year’s accomplishments and defining the upcoming year. Block time out to determine your goals for next year and then turn your goals into concrete action items with milestones and dates for completion.

But simply setting goals and making resolutions is not enough. The secret sauce to success (and one reason why coaching is effective) is accountability. Having someone consistently hold you accountable to the goals you so carefully and thoughtfully set is a competitive advantage. We pay a lot of attention to setting the right goals, with realistic timeframes, but how many of us invest in someone to hold us accountable in June for those goals we set back in December?

Accountability is the game changer - having another human that cares about us, our progress, and will tell us the truth, is the difference between those who accomplish their goals and those who don’t. It’s what makes one person get the promotion, land the dream client and another person have their aspirations fizzle soon after launch. The secret is in the accountability; having someone that you are accountable to and will be your partner in an committed and intelligent way.

In fact, accountability is so important that one of the key markers of employee engagement in Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Survey is “There is someone at work that encourages my development.” The Q12 is a tool created by Gallup after years studying businesses and conducting interviews with thousands of employers and is used by many businesses to measure employee engagement.

Accountability transforms goals into action. This is one reason coaching is so transformative. It helps to build the momentum you need to get started and the impetus for action. It’s having someone who will ask the hard questions. While it is ultimately our responsibility to accomplish what we set out to, accountability is the tool that exponentially improves our chances for success. It's simple math, two is better than one.

Here is my suggestion for 2022 - find the right someone to hold you accountable to what you have intended to do, when you intended to do it and that will trust you to do it. If you don’t have someone in your life, find a coach. Partner with them to set SMART goals (goals that are Specific, Motivating, Agreed, Realistic, Time Bound), set milestones together and calendar out those milestones.

Setting goals within these parameters sets you up for success by framing your goals in a manner through which you can determine your progress. Adding the accountability factor ensures you have someone to share your progress. A wise mentor, a trusted friend, or a skilled coach consistently and intentionally engaged with you WILL make all the difference.

As you begin 2022, set new, specific, and aspirational goals. And enlist the accountability and coaching that will ensure you go far.

  • LinkedIn
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