How to Use Our Personality Strengths to Make Our New Year's Resolutions Stick

As the new year rolls in, so do the goals that we have for the year. Some are big aspirations, some are those that we set every year. Now that we are into March, it is a great time to take a step back and evaluate our progress.

There are many benefits to goal setting, as this creates focus, direction and motivation across both our personal and professional lives. By setting goals and consistently evaluating our progress towards these, this allows us a strategy to encourage growth and development. The question though, is how do we make sure that we achieve these resolutions.

Research has shown that only a tiny fraction of us achieve our new year’s resolutions, a mere 8%. .

So what makes for effective goal setting? And what factors are at play which can ensure or hinder our success?

SMARTER Goal Setting

A well-known and effective goal setting framework is SMARTER goals, which was first coined by George T Doran, in 1981. The strategy states that by setting more specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & timely goals, we are more likely to succeed.

How Our Personalities Can Play a Part

There are general rules of thumb for setting goals and helping to strengthen the likelihood of achieving these. However, for everyone, our own personality differences can work to determine what will be the best for achieving goals, and our own preferred styles to do so. To think that we will all work and achieve in the same manner is quite unlikely. Some key factors we should all consider are:

Some key factors we should all consider are:

Are you Results or Process Focused?

Now, we all assume that everyone is driven by goals and targets, and that setting resolutions, particularly in the new year, is motivating for all. In reality, whilst some of us find achieving results and ticking items off our to-do-lists to be satisfying, others will enjoy the process and the journey to achieve this, rather than obtaining the goal

If you find setting goals to be motivating and rewarding:

  • Set yourself specific targets and objectives, creating an action plan to achieve this

  • Make sure you have a way to track your progress, using a visual representation such as ticking an item off a list – will be very satisfying

Be careful though, this approach can lead to a more narrow perspective – might lose sight of other opportunities if you focus too closely on one goal!

For those who enjoy the process, but still have goals and targets to meet:

  • Because the process will take precedence, prioritise following a strict set of tasks and steps, performed in sequence until you reach your desired objective

  • The importance here lies in developing a good process and method

With this style there runs the risk that you can become a slave to the process – make sure that you don’t forget to reevaluate and track progress along the way!

Do you prefer more structure of more flexibility?

Although we might not always want to admit it, some of us prefer to be organised and planned, while others, prefer to adopt a more flexible style. If we are constantly working against our preferred style this can be quite unsatisfying, so you are likely to be most successful when you adopt an approach that suits you!

Are you someone who thrives on making plans and having strict time-frames?

  • You will enjoy writing down and making a plan for your goals – break it down into smaller milestones and parts

  • Key techniques which will keep you motivated are to-do-lists, planning and calendars

Make sure you aren’t too time-bound and inflexible, things won’t always go to plan!

Do you prefer to go with the flow?

  • “If it makes sense to you, then it works” – find a schedule, pattern or process that works for you, rather than attempting to fit into what others tell you is “right”

  • Use a planner, calendar or diary to write your goals down - this will hold you accountable and enable you to see deadlines, whilst you can adapt your approach within this

Whilst you may not want to set out a plan or write things down – having a deadline and writing down your goals will increase your chance of achieving these.

And how about your discipline?

Despite what most of us think, self-discipline is an ingrained aspect of our personality. Whilst some of us are able to stay on track with our habits and results with ease, others require more self-constraint and control to achieve this.

If you are naturally quite a disciplined person, you are more likely to stick to a goal or plan, as long as it is meaningful!

For those of us who struggle a little wtih this...

  • Remove temptations and distractions “out of sight, out of mind”

  • Determine your weaknesses, if you know your discipline may waver in certain circumstances, plan for this

  • Set periods where you will be focused and on task, break up your day to help you get through this and avoid procrastination

So there you have it! If you want to make your goals stick, and actually keep to your resolutions for this year, adapt your approach to suit your own preferred style and preferences. What works for you, is honestly more likely to work for you!

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