Setting goals and sticking to them

Let’s re-evaluate our goals and set some new ones to finish the year truly celebrating.

In research conducted on behalf of HCF, more than 80 per cent of surveyed Aussies said they set new year’s resolutions, but 46 per cent of those who set them said they failed to stick to them.1

While life gets busy, it’s important to take the time to reset new goals and organise how to achieve them, to ensure we live our best lives.

 A guide to goal getting 

According to Harvard Business Review associate editors Rakshitha Arni Ravishankar and Kelsey Alpaio, writing in HBR’s Ascend newsletter, these are some goal-setting tips to remember:2

Connect all your goals to a ‘why’.

Author Allison Walsh wrote in her article ‘5 ways to make sure you achieve your goals this year’ that “achieving goals becomes easier when they’re connected to a reason and purpose”.

When people spend time understanding what is driving their goals, it will become easier to push through distractions or obstacles that may pop up.

 Break your goals down.

In the same article, Ms Walsh suggests a 90-day sprint to make the goals more attainable. So, instead of setting one big goal, breaking it down into smaller more achievable goals that can be accomplished each day.

 Schedule a buffer time between goals.

According to experts, one of the reasons people struggle to meet goals is that they overestimate their capabilities and underestimate external factors that can come into play.

 Focus on consistency rather than improvement.

New York based author Charlotte Lieberman argues that people should focus on stop trying to ‘fix themselves’ and embrace their ‘self-acceptance’.

She suggests that people should embrace all that they’ve already started and would like to continue with or build upon over time.

 Don’t let past failures get you down.

What comes with completing goals is that at times, people are likely to fail, and they need to understand that this is OK. Author Haiyang Yang, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in the US city of Baltimore, lists some ways to overcome fear rather than fear it, as published in the article ‘Why we set unattainable goals’

  • Celebrate the small wins.
  • Think about the ‘accidental’ or related benefits.
  • Ask for an objective analysis – one simple approach is to ask a friend or family member why they think you may have failed, and use it as a guide for next time.

Step by step 

 Now that you have the tips, it’s time to get started with each step, as advised by UK based global movement and charity Action for Happiness:3

Decide on what you want to achieve.

While it’s fairly self-explanatory, the first step is to decide what your goal is. This should be something you’re excited by or something you’ve always wanted to do.

Write it down.

Writing down goals increases the chance of sticking with them, as you get to see it not only in your mind but on paper as well.

Tell someone.

It may be daunting, but telling people what your goals are will not only let someone share your excitement and potentially assist you, but will ensure you hold yourself accountable.

Break the goal down.

This is great for goals that are bigger, as the further you break it down, the easier it will be for you to achieve a goal.

Plan the first step.

Just thinking about one goal can be overwhelming, so it’s important to focus on what the first step is.

Keep going, even when times get tough.


References available on request

Published in Retail Pharmacy Assistants September.