Every year, millions of people resolve to improve themselves with New Year’s resolutions. This cultural phenomenon is something that has been generally accepted as standard operating procedure for self-improvement in the U.S. But New Year’s resolutions aren’t particularly effective. In general, most people give up their resolutions within the first quarter of the year! So, maybe a better strategy is short, quarterly goals you can reexamine every few months.
Here’s why quarterly goals are better than New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s Resolutions Are Too Ambitious
New Year’s resolutions are so popular because the turning of the year feels like a psychological restart button. Following the big spending and celebrating over the holidays, people feel ready to start anew. But the reality is that the New Year doesn’t make a new you. Less than 10 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions fulfill them. One of the big reasons for this is that people are too ambitious with their resolutions.
Quarterly Goals Are Achievable within 90 Days
A year is a long time. A quarter, however, is much shorter. While you won’t be able to get as much done in 90 days as you can in a full year, it’s more effective to break down your goals into digestible fragments. Plus, a quarter is still long enough for you to see real progress toward your overall objective.
New Year’s Resolutions Are Abstract
These are a few of the most popular New Year’s resolutions: eat healthier, exercise more, save more, spend less, learn new skills; and the list goes on and on. Notice a pattern? The common theme with all of these resolutions is that they’re totally abstract. Without specificity and planning, people flounder in their resolutions. And this totally makes sense. How are you going to achieve a major life accomplishment without breaking it down into its actual parts?
Quarterly Goals Are Concrete
Unlike resolutions, quarterly goals give you a specific, reasonable place you want to be after a 90-day period. Say you’re trying to increase sales for your business. Set a quarterly goal of increasing leads by 10 percent. This is something you can certainly achieve by focusing your energy and making conscious changes to your approach.
The same goes for personal goals. If you want to save money, get out of that abstract mindset. Set realistic savings goals, such as putting away $500 into savings after three months. You can follow financial experts on social media if you want to get some daily inspiration. Andrew Housser, co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network, is one of the top voices for money-saving advice.
New Year’s Resolutions Lead People to Cheat and Give Up
As already mentioned, the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions result in failure. This circles back again to the very nature of what it means to set resolutions versus concrete goals. When you give yourself an indefinite timeline, you’re almost certainly going to cheat. Very few people have the internal drive to totally rework their lives that way. Thus, that sort of approach leads to broken resolutions.
Quarterly Goals Encourage Snowballing Success
On the other hand, when you break down your resolutions into quarterly goals, you’re not giving yourself the same sort of wiggle room to give up. Quarterly goals are a better approach because your successes can snowball on each other. Setting quantifiable goals, for which you’ll actually be able to say “Yes, I achieved this,” is how you can keep your progress rolling, as opposed to falling off track.
New Year’s Resolutions Wear You Down
Many people who set New Year’s resolutions stack many of them on top of each other. This leads to people quickly getting exhausted. You’re not going to get anywhere with your long-terms goals if you keep getting bogged down. Sometimes, New Year’s resolutions can actually set you even further back from your starting point.
Quarterly Goals Build You Up
Unlike resolutions, quarterly goals will boost your confidence and long-term success. Even though they aren’t as grandiose as New Year’s resolutions, quarterly goals build confidence and momentum. Each time you tick off one of your quarterly goals, you’re not only reaching a milestone, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll continue with your progress.
Everyone wants to improve their life. New Year’s resolutions are one of the most-used, but least effective ways of going about this. People who are serious about boosting their personal or business affairs should instead look to set quarterly goals.
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