*Republished from the December 2016 issue of The Kayseean
By Rachel Burrus
A new year has officially begun with all the noise and excitement that can be expected for such a momentous occasion. The dawn of a new year usually inspires countless individuals to radically improve components of their lives in one way or another.
According to History.com New Year’s Interactives, 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. The most popular goals include losing weight, getting organized, spending less and saving more money, staying fit and healthy, or quit smoking. Granted, these resolutions might seem atypical but desirable goals to reach and attain. The statistics show that 75% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions drop out of their goal by or before two weeks’ time. Following this, 64-71% abandon these goals by the fourth week of the month of January. By week 26, only a measly 46% are sticking by their resolution goals. There are millions of Americans who aspire to a certain goal or dream and then quit and do not end up fulfilling what they intended to accomplish. So, why do so many New Year’s resolutions fizzle out before the first month is out? The answer is fairly simple.
It has often been said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish,” most notably by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. From my perspective, this is most likely the top reason why so many New Year’s resolutions die out so quickly–like a candle flame in a stiff breeze. A goal without a plan is simply a mere daydream.
Author Zig Ziglar, one of the most dynamic motivational speakers of all time, created a 7 step goal-setting system that has been inspiring for hard-workers as well as dreamers who want to transform wishing into doing.
The first crucial step in setting a goal is stating the goal. Writing down your goal makes the goal real. As a photographer, when I see my photographs in print, my pictures become something tangible instead of an accumulation of pixels on a screen. When you state the goal by writing it down and transferring ideas to words on paper, you are already gaining power over your own dream.
The second step–just as important as the first–is setting a deadline to meet the goal. This is when the voice of reason comes in to play–and why so many New Year’s resolutions fail. A deadline isn’t made to reach a certain goal by a certain completion date. However, don’t fear if you aren’t able to achieve it by your own self-appointed date. This is the fuel for determination that is direly needed to kick in the subconscious to high gear mode.
Thirdly, identify the obstacles. Once you identify the obstacles that may hinder you on your path, you can overcome them, too.
Fourth, identify the people and groups who can provide assistance for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people who can pull you up closer to your goal.
Fifth, list the benefits of achieving your goal. With this step you can let your imagination run wild at the positive benefits that may come from achieving your goal–whether it’s something as simple as losing five pounds in two weeks or opening up your own business. The same rules apply.
The sixth step is listing the skills you need to acquire to attain the goal–for a photographer, this includes equipment, knowledge, and ability/talent.
The seventh step is developing a plan. This final step is tough as you delve into the nitty gritty portion of your goal. However, this is where it all comes together and is crucial to achieving goals. So, if you have a New Year’s resolution in mind, it’s never too late to start a certain goal–apply these simple steps and you may be surprised by how far you can go in your own personal development.