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Getting from ‘Resolution’ to Real Change
By Jordan Goldberg   View more articles by this author
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December 30

It’s that time of year again--when we pause to reflect on our personal shortcomings—and vow this year to make real change.

You’ve made annual resolutions in the past--maybe you’ve even signed up for a new gym membership.   But if you’re like most of us, by February 1st, that sincere promise to exercise has turned into nothing more than a monthly gym payment. 

So what happened?  Why do those plans fall short?  Truth is, you might be looking at this goal-setting thing the wrong way.

The path to success is like running a marathon.   Crossing the finish line only happens on the final step of the race.  Meanwhile, pace yourself, and take it one step at a time.

The most common New Year’s resolutions are “outcome-based” goals, such as losing 20 lbs or finding a new job.  These types of goals are important because they establish a tangible finish line.  But don’t forget about the race itself.   Identify the actions that you need to change, and set resolutions for them as well.  Commit to 90 minutes of cardio each week.  Commit to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or pack a healthy lunch for work instead of buying one (and save some money while you’re at it).   Couple these behavior-based goals with outcome-based goals, and you have a road map to success.   

Once you have your plan, you have to stickK to it. That requires motivation.  Sure, you’ve got some motivation already (perhaps the thought of putting on a swimsuit helps), but was it enough last year?

So what can you do to stay on track this year?  

The solution is actually quite simple: add incentives and accountability to your goal.  

The power of incentives is no secret.   After all, we go to work to make money, and work hard for a raise or promotion.  We even host in-laws to avoid a grouchy spouse.  These incentives encourage us to do things we may otherwise avoid.  You should approach goal setting the same way.   

Studies have shown that someone with a financial incentive is up to three times more likely to succeed.  The key is to make the cost of not following through on your goal high enough that failure is not an option.

Think about that weight loss goal in terms of cheeseburgers.  A cheeseburger may cost you $5.  But what if you put $25 on the line each week to lose a pound?  You might think twice about stopping for fast food, because suddenly that $5 cheeseburger really costs you $30.  I know I wouldn’t pay $30 for a cheeseburger!

After you’ve set your resolutions and your incentives, accountability is critical.  Who else should know about your goal?  Who is going to kick you in the butt when you start to fall behind?

Choose people that can keep tabs on you.  If you commit to pack that healthy lunch for work, make sure the coworkers that you eat lunch with are aware of the goal.  If you commit to study a certain number of hours for a class, find a study partner.  

By creating the right goals and adding incentives and accountability, real change is sure to follow.  Before long, that finish line will be in sight—and this time, you’ll get to cross it.

Good luck stickKing to your resolutions this year!  




Jordan Goldberg

CEO and Co-Founder, stickK.com, LLC

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