How to choose New Year's resolutions that could actually change your life and more importantly how to keep them! 

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after another Latin word, this time for door (ianua), this was because the first month was viewed as the door to the coming year and an opening for new beginnings.

These are usually what people call their New Year resolutions, however, as all the research shows these good intentions rarely last beyond the middle of January? This is because habits are hard to break?  Even the best intentions are cast aside in the routine and rush of everyday life?

The reasons resolutions fail are usually time and lack of focus.

As we spend our days moving from what we perceive as one crisis to another, we sometimes lose sight of the need to take a step back and ask ourselves where do we want to go and how will we get there?

I personally have no time for resolutions, but passionately believe in the power of goal setting.

Goal Setting can help you maximize the time you have to achieve your business and personal ambitions.

So how do you start effective goal setting?

Here are simple but broad guidelines that will help you set effective and enjoyable goals for 2020:

Write goals down

This makes them real and gives them more force. It also allows you to share them with those who can help you achieve them or keep you enthused on the journey.

State each goal as a positive statement

Why start with a negative?  As you should review your goals on a regular basis reading a positive statement will keep you motivated.

Be precise

Make sure you allocate dates, times and amounts to every goal as appropriate so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.

Set priorities

When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals. You can then direct your attention to the most important ones that will deliver the best results.

Keep operational goals small

Keep the low-level goals you are working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Your daily goals should just be the actions you need to complete to achieve your larger long-term vision.

Set performance goals, not outcome goals

You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over them and can draw satisfaction from them.  In short, you control the outcome.

Set realistic goals

It is important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (employers, family, media, and society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. Alternatively, you may set goals that are unachievable, because you may not appreciate either the obstacles in the way or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to attain a particular level of performance.

Finally when you achieve a goal reward yourself...

Be happy

Treat yourself and tell others you have been successful. Then start again, as goals unlike resolutions, are not just for January.

Why not give it a try and watch those doors open for you in 2020.

This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.

New Year, new you! Liam Murphy