Super ideas won't make you Superman this year -- or any other, for that matter.
After polishing off that holiday feast, many overzealous folks will boast of all the extraordinary feats they will accomplish in the new year, which are typically nothing short of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. And much of that holiday chatter never seems to come to fruition.
Each year we tell ourselves that this year is going to be different. This is going to be the year we land that big promotion, launch a new business initiative, head back to school, get a date with the girl or guy of our dreams, or quit smoking cigarettes.
This annual ritual is known as the New Year's resolution, a time when we feel compelled to make a positive change in our lives and better ourselves as individuals. But without defined goals, you could be stuck in the mailroom till the next millennium with a platinum gym membership used only once or twice, says Erma Roquemore.
Roquemore is the author of
24Kt. Goal: Ten Steps to Personal and Professional Success
, and works as an instructor, a motivational speaker and a seminar leader both at home and abroad. She conducts seminars and workshops for Fortune 500 companies to help their employees reach their full potential.
TSC: A lot of people make New Year's resolutions to improve some aspect of their lives, but they rarely seem to come to fruition. Are people who make these New Year's resolutions generally successful, or is it more wishful thinking on their part?
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It's a lot of wishful thinking, and again it goes back to they're just talking about things they
to do. What happens is, when the New Year comes around, people are always planning to do something better or stop doing something. I hear women telling me all the time they're going to start losing weight -- that's the biggest one we know by far.
But what happens, what statistics show, is that the average person who sets a New Year's resolution, at least 50% have abandoned it by the end of January and up to 90% by the end of the first quarter. There's only 10% of the population who actually document their goals. Well, that number is wrong. It's 10% who actually talk about what they want to do, 3% who document it, and 87% who don't do anything at all. They just accept things as they are. Those are startling statistics.
TSC: Absolutely. I know a lot of people join a gym, for example, because they want to get in shape, and they go for about three days. Then they stop.
They don't have a plan. Another thing is that they don't have a buddy. They don't have someone who can lift them up when they don't feel like going. All of us have those days where we say, "Gosh, I just don't want to do this." You need someone who is equally as motivated as you are who can help you when you are feeling that way, and vice versa. Typically, you're not going to feel down at the same time. Everybody's going to have their ebbs and lows at different times. So getting a buddy is very, very important.
And it's also important to not promiscuously share the goals. That's another thing that affects us emotionally. We tell everybody, "Guess what I'm going to do!" Then we have to face that letdown when we don't do it, when someone says, "Hey, how's your diet going?" or "How's it going with the kids?"
Well, we blame mother, father, sister, brother, the traffic, the weather -- it can be almost anything that we can blame for not living up to the things we want to do. That's why I always say talk is not cheap. We've been saying for years that talk is cheap, but it isn't. The things that we say, people hold us accountable for.
TSC: So what would you say are some of the pitfalls or mistakes that people make when they are making New Year's resolutions? Do they just set the bar too high?
Absolutely. I always ask someone to just try and do one thing. Don't try to do business, personals, financials -- it's just too much. You're not doing that now. So just pick one thing that you really, really want to do.
But they always set the bar too high because number one, they have the audience. They've told people because they want to prove things to other people rather than to themselves. The second thing is, they don't commit pen to paper. I'd say a good 93% of the people in my database say they want to stop procrastinating. They keep putting off until tomorrow what they really should be doing today.
TSC: People tend to make these New Year's resolutions, but why do they have to wait to New Year's to do it? It just seems like that's a decision that can be made at any time.
It is a decision that can be made at any time. I think we do it at New Year's because it's cultural. There's something about the New Year -- it's a clean slate. We're just starting off, it's all brand new, and it's fresh and exciting. So perhaps these individuals feel that they're be more motivated to get these things done.
And back when the millennium came, my goodness, it was even more emotional back then. It was very tied to emotions. Some of the goals last year that people shared with me were just way over the top. Again, when I do the mentoring and coaching with them, I'm always asking, "Did you write it down?" And surprisingly, maybe not surprising to me anymore, they always say, "No, I didn't. I meant to, but I didn't." If you don't have that in front of you, there's your road map. You're just being tossed about like the wind can toss a leaf.
TSC: What kind of New Year's resolutions do you make for yourself?
Well, I typically tie mine in to business and on the personal and spiritual side. As an example, I typically go and get this huge big placard, and I write out my goals in five different categories. I typically focus on the spiritual goals because I know that if I stay spiritually anchored, then everything else is built from there and has a much stronger foundation.
Then I take it to the personal side -- my interactions with individuals, how I feel about myself, being comfortable with the skin I'm in and how I can continue to strengthen that. And then I start looking at the business side: OK, now I need to expand my services and products, the good that I deliver to clients and potential clients.
TSC: If you had to give one parting shot to someone who doesn't ever get anywhere with their goals, what would be the one thing that you could say to them that would help them out the most?
My advice would be do it today. And I spell today "TWO-Day." People always say, "You misspelled it." No, I spell it that way purposely.
If you're truly committed to your goals, and you've written down that one thing that you want to do and the steps needed to accomplish it, don't let more than two days go by without doing something towards the attainment of that goal.
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