Research shows that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions, while only 8% are successful in in achieving them.
What is it about those 8% that make them so different? It might sound simple, but it comes down to their habits.
Here are 11 you simply must have if you want to reach your goals:
1. Set specific goals
Unfortunately, one of the things that derails many goal-setters is that they lack a specific finish line. “Lose weight” is vague — do you succeed if you lose one pound?
Instead, people who always reach their goals have a habit of being very specific about what they want to accomplish — like “lose 10 pounds in 3 months.”
2. Schedule time to work on goals
Successful people know that time doesn’t carve itself out. If they have a goal they’re serious about, they schedule specific time to work on it. They keep these appointments sacred, just as if they were meeting with clients. The habit of scheduling time to work towards your goals ensures you’ll always reach them.
3. Set smaller goals on the way to the big goal
Many people start off with huge goals that inspire them, but are, unfortunately, hard to attain. When you have huge goals, it’s important to break them down into smaller “milestone” goals, so that you can not only track your progress, but stay encouraged throughout the process.
4. Realize all attributes can be improved
Some people get discouraged and give up on their goals simply because they think they aren’t good enough to achieve them. Those who meet their goals realize this isn’t the case — even intelligence or personality can be improved over time. By making a habit of improving all attributes, you’ll reach your goals more easily.
5. Habitually persevere
For those who regularly achieve their goals, the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is a way of life. By realizing that the path to their goals will be difficult, they prepare themselves to push through. Having a habit of perseverance is essential if you want to be someone who meets your goals.
6. Write your goals down
People who are successful have a strong habit of writing down every goal they set, along with the date it was achieved. This gives them a record they can use to encourage themselves, while also making the goal seem more concrete.
7. Replace bad habits with good ones
Making a goal to stop doing something is not nearly as effective as making a goal that involves doing something new. If you have a bad habit to overcome, focus on creating a new behavior in that situation. Something like, “When I feel angry at my child, I’ll take 10 seconds before speaking” is a specific, positive habit, versus saying, “I’ll never get angry at my child.”
8. Don’t make excuses
Many people who don’t achieve their goals end up making excuses. Those who are successful don’t hide behind excuses — instead, they see failures as a chance to recalibrate and try again. Make a habit of refusing to give in to excuses — instead, empower yourself to keep moving toward your goal.
9. Make goals that help others
Having the motivation to keep going when the path to a goal gets rough is very important. Those who are successful at reaching their goals set achievements that mean a lot to them. Often, they focus on goals that help others. When you know you’re doing good, it’s easier to keep moving toward success.
10. Have a habit of being healthy
Being fit might seem like a goal in itself, but ultimately, it helps you achieve your other aims. Those who are successful seem to have endless energy, and they get this way by keeping their body moving and eating well. By making healthy choices, you set yourself up for success.
11. Stay humble about your abilities
Those who are most successful in reaching their goals know they always have something new to learn, grow, or improve in. By staying humble and teachable, they’re able to accept help and generate success, over and over again.
Reaching your goals consistently isn’t about having super-human power, it’s about harnessing the power of habit. With these 12 habits, you’ll be much more likely to reach your goals consistently.
Chad Halvorson is the founder and CEO of When I Work. He has successfully built 3 multi-million dollar companies, all of which are still operating today. His current company, When I Work, is an employee scheduling app that more than 30,000 businesses and over half a million people rely on for employee scheduling, time clock, and communication.