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Redo resolutions: Be clear, write them down, set deadlines

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How’s that New Year’s resolution going?

Congratulations if you are right on target. Don’t feel too badly if you dropped your New Year’s resolutions.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail by mid-February anyway. Life gets in the way, we get stressed and we go back to old habits that keep us in our comfort zone.

For most people, January is a good time to focus their energies, to stop being busy, to get organized and to take control.

However, you can begin to make changes on March 26 – or any date. What is important is that you are ready to begin any change.


So what to do now?

Focus your attention on what is important in your life. Whether it is getting to the gym or spending more time with loved ones, set goals.

Another way to think about goal-setting is to think about your values and priorities and make plans to achieve the life that represents those priorities.

Once you have set a few goals, decide when to begin and a realistic deadline.

The only rule is to write the specific goal and put your action plans on your calendar.


How do you ensure goals will get accomplished this time?

<Goals that are written down get accomplished.

Goals with accountability get accomplished. Those who write their goals accomplish significantly more than those who do not.

A study at Dominican University in California found that you become 42 percent more likely to achieve goals and dreams simply by writing them down.

The likelihood that you’ll transform your desires into reality goes up even further if you share written goals with someone who believes in your ability to succeed.

<Use mental imagery to plant a vision of the goal in your brain.

Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychologist who survived the death camps of Nazi Germany, made a significant discovery.

He was intrigued with what made it possible for some people to survive when most died in the camps. He looked at several factors: health, vitality, family structure, intelligence and survival skills.

He concluded the single most significant factor was sense of a future vision. The compelling conviction of those who survived was a mission to perform, some important work left to do.

Survivors of prisoner-of-war camps in Vietnam and elsewhere reported similar experiences. A compelling future-oriented vision is the primary force that kept many alive.


Mental imagery uses the right side of your brain.

When you write the goal, you are using the left side.

This is significant, because if you just think about one of your goals or dreams, you’re only using the right hemisphere of your brain, your imaginative center.

But, if you think about something you desire and write it down, you also tap into the power of your logic-based left hemisphere.


Make sure you have clarity about the goal.

If you are setting business goals, SMART goals help you set targets such as profit or number of sales. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.

For personal goals, you can adapt the process that works for you or use SMART as an easy reminder of the elements needed to form a specific goal.

Just remember to be so clear about what you want to happen that you can also see it in your mind.


Get your priorities on the calendar. Setting small steps or action plans and syncing them with the calendar will help stay on track.

You also can practice accountability by telling another person what you want to achieve and reporting milestones to that person.

It all depends on you, whether you choose to take the essential steps to create the results you desire, or continue what you’ve been doing with the same results.

Carol-Anne Minski of Jim Thorpe is founder and president of CMA Leadership Consultants. A coach, facilitator and author, she helps business owners and professionals, primarily in the Lehigh Valley, strengthen the essential skills needed to achieve their goals. She can be reached at cminski@cmaleadershipconsultants.com.

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