Making Goals that Stick—Once and For All

“New year, new me!” That phrase can be a great motivator or a trite credo depending on how you use it. Follow through on your lofty aspirations with these tips from “Goals that Stick.”

1. Set a goalgoals inside

Simply making a resolution and committing yourself to it improves your odds of success tenfold compared to those who don’t make a commitment, says clinical psychologist John Norcross. However, goals must be realistic and attainable in order for you to achieve them.

2. Develop a plan of action

John Bozung has completed 245 marathons, running on every continent and in every US state. His key to success? Breaking large goals down into smaller ones. “Sometimes it’s not getting to the next mile,” he says. “It’s getting to the next telephone pole and then to the next one after that.” At the 2008 Top of Utah Marathon, Bozung face planted only three minutes into the race. While he could have stopped, he continued the race and finished more than four hours later. Then he drove straight to a local ER to receive thirty-four stitches. “The important thing is to finish,” Bozung adds.

3. Be confident

Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” You need confidence in yourself to persevere so don’t give up if you mess up. Norcross says that nearly three in four successful goal setters said their first slipup actually strengthened their efforts in reaching their target.

4. Declare your resolution

Putting your goal out there can be scary, but it can also help cultivate social support and keep you accountable. Family members, friends, and social networking buddies can encourage progress and help you along the way. Track your progress and reward yourself for small successes.

“Think of resolutions as marathons, not 100-yard dashes,” Norcross says. “Prepare for the long haul of a changed lifestyle.”

Read the full story by Bremen Leak in the Winter 2010 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine.