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Business // Thinking Smart
David S. Chang

Best Way To Set New Year’s Resolutions

As 2013 comes to a close, many of us look toward starting off on the right foot in 2014.

About 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8 percent achieve their goals for the new year!

Want to be in the 8 percent that succeeds?

Here is the best way to reach your New Year’s resolutions. It all comes down to creating the right “systems” to reach your goals.

Goals are important to set (visit artofthinkings-mart.com to learn more setting SMART Goals) so you know what to aim for. But unless you know the “how” and the “process,” no matter how great your resolutions, chances are you will fall into the other 92 percent.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

* Difference Between Goals And Systems. One of the top resolutions people make every year is to lose weight. Setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in six months is good, so eating healthier and exercising more is your system. If you are in school, getting good grades may be your goal. Developing good study habits is your system. Your goal may be to get out of debt, so saving more and spending less is your system. Your system sets a framework and foundation needed to meet any goals you set. Systems-based thinking is not about hitting a certain number but sticking to a process where you can continually build upon your progress.

* Commit To A System, Not A Goal. You cannot get results by just setting goals, but you can get results by just setting a system. Let’s say that, as a coach, you are ignoring the goal of winning a championship but focused on a system of making sure the team practices effectively and efficiently every day. Would you still get results? If, as a small-business person, you ignore the goal of becoming a million-dollar business and focus on a system of successful sales, marketing and operations, would you still get results? I definitely think so! This is important, because if success is tied to a certain goal, it increases stress and reduces happiness, especially if you don’t reach your goals. But, if you focus on the system, you can learn to enjoy the current moment while improving at the same time.

* Let Go Of The Need For Immediate Results. If people investing today expect a large return tomorrow, they most likely will be disappointed. But if they stick to a system of disciplined investing and the right asset allocation, they will be more likely to get the results they want over time. Consistent systems help people avoid emotional decisions if goals aren’t met immediately or even after they meet them. If you focus everything on meeting a goal, what happens afterward? I have a friend who made it a goal to get in shape to run a marathon. After meeting the goal, he stopped training altogether, since the goal was no longer there to motivate him. If his system was to continue training on a regular basis, it would be far more effective over the long term.

In the end, systems prevent you from a yo-yo effect of working on a goal and not working on one. It helps you be consistent and continue to get feedback so you know what to adjust to make the process better. If the right system is there, goals aren’t the end but the means to building the right system.

david@artofthinkingsmart.com

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