About 45% of people make new years resolutions. 25% don’t make it past the first week of January. 80% abandon them after 6 months. In fact, only 8% are actually successful in achieving their goals by the end of the year. The problem is not the goal, or the person. The problem is how the goal was made!
I hope you’re one of the 45% who set goals in determination to improve something in your life! But where are you in terms of achieving those goals? Have you already given up?
Whether you’ve already made goals for this year, or you’re still sitting on the goals you’ve made last Ramadan, here are some tips to make sure your goals stick.
1. Write it down. Write it down. Write it down!!!!
I can’t stress this point enough. If you want your goals to stick, you have to write it down and literally stick it up on the wall where you can see it everyday. Ok it doesn’t have to be on the wall, but write it somewhere you can easily access it. On your desktop, refrigerator, in your diary or notebook, bedroom dresser etc. The act of writing makes it more compelling and long lasting in your memory, and viewing it creates a sense of accountability.
2. You need SMARTER goals
If you’ve already given up on your goal, it’s probably because it wasn’t SMART enough. So let’s make it SMARTER. (I’m sure you’ve heard of the acronym SMART before, but lets go over it one more time)
Specific – Simply saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to memorize more Quran” is too broad and general. Be specific. My goal is to lose 20 pounds, to memorize 3 parts of the Quran, to write and publish a book called “How to stick to your goals in a world of diapers”.
Measurable – The goal should offer tangible evidence once achieved. If you set a goal to become a better mother, or to be more productive, how will you know once you’ve achieved this aim? Setting specifics helps make your goal measurable.
Achievable – If you’re currently working full-time, have 5 children, and no domestic help, then perhaps a goal like becoming fluent in a language in one year may not be achievable. Set goals that challenge you but not ones that make it impossible to attain.
Realistic – We’re all for dreaming big, but we also have to be realistic. You can’t make goals that are out of your reach. For example, it’s not realistic to aim to win a nobel peace prize award this year when you currently have no projects running. Also, goals you don’t have control over such as having twins or even getting pregnant should be avoided.
Time bound – Do your goals have deadlines or start dates? You need them. Deadlines create a sense of urgency so that you’re motivated to take action, or else you’ll procrastinate for ever. For example, you may set a goal to launch your first website by June 1st, 2015, or to have read the entire Quran cover to cover twice by the first of Ramadan, or to read 20 books by December 31st. I have goals ending at different times of the year. Pushing all dates to December 31st can create massive procastination. Setting deadlines throughout the year helps me prioritize and strategize.
Exciting – Don’t set cliche goals or ones that are standard for Muslim moms if they’re not important to you. Set goals that mean something to you personally. Ones that excite and motivate you. Your goals should be self-fulfilling. You won’t get this satisfaction if you’re pursing some else’s goals.
Relevant – Your goals should be relevant to you and your current circumstances. For example, you’ve always wanted to homeschool but this year you’re faced with many obstacles or other pressing commitments that make that goal difficult to achieve. This simply isn’t the year to start homeschooling. Or let’s say, you’re at a new stage in life; you’ve just gotten married, or you’ve just started a business, then how relevant would a goal like moving abroad or travelling for six months be?
Bad Goals SMART Goal
Read more books. Read 15 books by December 31st 2015
Memorize Quran. Memorize Juzz Amma and Juzz Tabarak by Ramadan 1, 1436.
Start a blog. Start a blog called consciencemotherhood.com by April 31st.
3. Stop dreaming of the end and focus on the now
I’m not super big on visualizing the end or “keeping my eye on the prize”. I think this creates a delusion of advanced accomplishment. I’ve been visualizing for years, it didn’t move me. I like to think the goals I set improve me as an individual and although I have a final destination, I understand whether or not I achieve it is in Allaah’s control. But what I’m more certain of is that so long as I act and work towards this goal I’m a winner whether or not I actually attain it. You don’t have to have a full blown A-Z action plan just yet, and you don’t have to have all the right conditions in place. You just need to do two major things to make sure your goals stick.
1. Make a move – You need to take any action to start building momentum, even if its as small as calling the gym to inquiry about membership fees. One of my goals this year to go complete the explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles by Shaykh Salih Al-Fawzan. The first thing I did was create a bookmark folder to save the links to the Arabic text, the English translation of the text, and the Arabic audio of the Shaykh’s explanation. It’s a small step, but it got me going. After, keep up the momentum by reviewing your goals and always planning your next step.
2. Set up rituals – Create rituals or habits that you do daily or weekly that bring you closer to your goal. For example, you may decide to workout for 20 mins every morning at 7 o’clock if its a fitness goal. If you’re writing a book, you may block out Friday mornings from 9-11 to dedicate to writing and compiling. Habits and rituals make goals stick because they create progress. We have tens of habits we do daily from the moment we wake up till we sleep. Add some habits that are connected to your goal and you’ll get there sooner.
Share with us some of your goals or some goals you’ve set in the pass and successfully achieved. We’d love to hear more strategies on how to set goals that stick!