A new year means new resolutions for most people, but you know the statistic: around 80 percent of all New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February. Your resolutions in the past might have contributed to this percentage. But don’t give up on setting goals for the new year just yet. 

Many people don’t achieve their resolutions because they’re overambitious without a clearly-defined plan. Other people struggle to push past the resistance they inevitably face when trying to reach a goal. 

We believe there are more successful, sustainable approaches to goal-setting for the new year. Today we’re sharing 3 tips for setting achievable goals in 2022. 

Then we’ll share our method with you for reaching our goals as a team. This method is easily adapted for individual goal-setting too!

Let’s start with some tips:

1. Create habits instead of resolutions. 

Willpower and motivation are unreliable drivers for achieving New Year’s resolutions, according to Dr. B.J. Fogg, a social scientist at Stanford University and author of Tiny Habits.

Why? Because willpower and motivation fluctuate, depending on the day or circumstance. That’s why many people forego their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February. Emotions like passion, gratitude, and compassion are more likely to sustain a habit or resolution.

Still, Fogg suggests creating “tiny habits”  instead of big resolutions because you’re more likely to achieve them. Plus, tiny habits lead to bigger ones, which people usually call “resolutions” anyway.

For instance, if you’d like to run a half marathon in 2022, create a tiny habit to work towards that goal. Be sure to personalize this habit so that it is specific to you and where you are starting from. Then focus on that habit at the beginning of the year. In an interview with CNN, Fogg gave 3 criteria for creating a successful habit:

Number one: It needs to be effective. Take meditation as stress reduction. For a lot of people meditation is not effective for reducing stress because all they do is become aware of how scattered their mind is, so that’s a bad idea for those people.

For me, what’s effective is going out into nature. Even a short little walk to the ocean or a short walk into the garden is very effective.

Number two: It needs to be a behavior people want to do. If you don’t want to do that behavior, maybe you can manipulate yourself into it a few times but it won’t become a habit.

Number three: It needs to be a behavior you can do. So I talked about walking out and looking at the ocean or looking at tadpoles. Well, I live in a place I can do that.

Your likelihood of success exponentially increases if your new tiny habit meets those three criteria. 

2. Rethink how you define progress.

Usually, people think of progress and perfectionism as interchangeable. Their inner voice sounds something like, “My only measure of success is whether I perfect this resolution!” 

But other measures of success exist besides perfection. Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He said, “Lower your standards for what counts as progress and you will be less paralyzed by perfectionism.”

You do not have to sacrifice excellence to “lower your standards.” This simply means you set realistic goals, timelines, and expectations of yourself. 

Grant also tweeted, “An ambitious goal raises your odds of success [but] also boosts your odds of feeling like a failure.” 

His solution? “…set 2 targets: an inspirational goal and an acceptable result. If you fall short of the aspirational goal but hit the acceptable one, you haven’t failed.”

Can you break your “big” resolution into tiny habits or small acceptable goals that you meet to measure your success? What quarterly, monthly, and daily benchmarks can you set and achieve? Have you taken stock of your physical, mental, and emotional bandwidth in the new year to ensure you have realistic expectations of yourself?

Set yourself up for success in 2022 by answering these questions and then adjusting your expectations accordingly. 

3. Make sure you have “white space” in your calendar and your mind. 

Rest is productive. That might sound counterintuitive, but prioritizing rest in 2022 will make you more productive, not less. 

When we rest, we reap many benefits like optimal wellbeing, reduced stress, improved decision-making, and increased creativity and productivity. Companies are even experimenting with decreases in their workweek and finding that employees are more productive.  

If you want to achieve your goals in 2022, then you’ll also want to add one more goal: rest more.

To make time for rest, first you’ll want to create some “white space” in your calendar. 

This kind of white space is necessary for two reasons. First, think about how many times during your day something “comes up.” When you don’t have built-in margin for surprises, the first blocks of time you’ll nix are the ones for rest or those tiny habits that are important to you.

Second, you need white space for restful activities. Rest doesn’t always look like taking a nap –although it can! Restful activities are ones that restore the energy, joy, and peace you need to achieve your goals. This looks different for everyone so don’t forget personalization here too.

Next, you’ll want to create some “white space” in your mind. This is a harder concept to grasp, but our minds need white space like our calendars. 

What makes your mind feel crowded? 

For example, when you’re working on one task, are you always thinking about the next task on your to-do list? Try focusing on the one at hand until you complete it.

Do you feel like you can’t turn your mind “off” because you’re consuming a lot of information from social media, news outlets, or podcasts? Set some boundaries on these activities. 

Have a running to-do list in your head? Try doing a “brain dump” every morning where you write down your mental to-do list so it’s stored somewhere else. 

Do you have a hard time leaving work at work? Find a restful activity you enjoy and do at the end of your workday – even if it’s stopping by your favorite coffee shop on the way home – so your mind is able to make the transition from work to rest. 

With some white space in your calendar and your mind, you’ll tackle your habits and goals with less resistance. 

How OpMentors Sets Achievable Goals

“SMART” is an acronym commonly used for goal-setting. You can learn more about the history of this method for goal setting here.

At OpMentors, we use this method to set annual goals, and we’ve found it’s more sustainable than radical resolutions that fizzle out by mid-February every year. 

Each letter in the acronym describes a feature of a SMART goal. SMART goals are:  

  • Specific (S) – Your goals should be narrow for more effective planning.
  • Measurable (M) – You should define what evidence will prove you’re making progress on your goal and reevaluate when necessary.
  • Attainable (A) – You should make sure you can reasonably accomplish your goal within a certain time frame.
  • Relevant (R) – Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives.
  • Time-based (T) – You should set a realistic, ambitious end-date for task prioritization and motivation. 

For the new year, you can use this method on your own or with your team. 

Here’s how it works for us. At the beginning of the year, we always create SMART goals with our managers. Then we use these goals during quarterly reviews to assess our progress individually and collectively. 

Throughout the year, we use the SMART goals to guide conversations about areas where we can improve. If we aren’t accomplishing certain goals within a designated time frame, we focus on the “why” to get to the root cause, remove any roadblocks to success, and reevaluate the components of our SMART goals. 

Not only are SMART goals more attainable for our team, but they also give us a means to encourage and support one another. We never feel we’re trying to achieve our goals alone.

Happy New Year from our team at OpMentors! We know resolutions can be overwhelming. We believe you’ll be more successful with these alternative ways of thinking about resolutions or goals in mind. 

Do you have some business goals you want to achieve in 2022? Schedule a call today to learn how OpMentors can help you reach them with solutions optimized for your specific business needs. 

Privacy Preference Center