Check Your Goals
This is a reminder, to you, to me, to all of us, to check our goals.
A study from YouGov found that in the last year just 35% of US adults kept all of their New Years resolutions, while 49% kept at least some. 16% kept none at all, and 1% selected, “Don’t know/can’t recall” suggesting they forgot them entirely.
65% of Americans don't keep all their New Year's resolutions
50% of the population was planning on or undecided about setting New Year’s Resolutions for 2021, optimistically, in spite of the strong evidence that they're unlikely to actually accomplish them.
I’ve take some time at the end of the last two years to reflect on the year that has passed and plan the next one. And, I don’t know how things are for you, but summer is where my goals to die. There’s a lot of reasons for this. For one thing, it’s just easier to get lost in the season itself and forget our goals. The warmer weather brings with it lawn care, gardening, and hot lethargic days; and also vacations, hiking, and other outdoor fun. For another thing, the summer, in the northern hemisphere, falls in the middle of the year, and for most people the middle is the hardest time to stay on track with a goal. At the beginning you’re excited about a new goal, and at the end, if you’re still committed and haven’t forgotten, you’re rushing to finish the goal before the deadline. But in the middle there tends to not be that much happening.
As time passes throughout the year, more and more distractions present themselves that can get us off track. Not necessarily bad distractions, either, just new things. For example, I planned this year to learn more Spanish, and purchased a subscription to Babble. But then I got interested in making videos for YouTube and advancing my photography, and pretty soon the time for studying Spanish went to watching YouTube videos and Skillshare classes in that space. Those are still good things, but they don’t actually help with the original goal.
By the end of the year, I often find that at least one of my goals failed simply because I forgot it entirely; another victim of my brain's peculiar inability to prioritize what information to keep what to discard.
As we’re entering September, though, it’s a good time to evaluate the progress of our goals. We’re far enough into the year that chances are you, like me, have lost track of your goals, but we’re still far enough from the end that there’s time to accomplish some things without trying to add them to the mad holiday rush.
So, if you made some goals for the year, now’s the time to review them. Take a few minutes, find where you wrote them down, and evaluate how things are going. What’s on track? What’s completed? What still needs some work or maybe hasn’t been started? Once you’ve evaluated them, think about how you’ll plan to complete these goals in the remaining few months. What will it take to check these off by the end of December? How can you practically do that?
September isn't normally when we think about our New Year's resolutions, but it's the perfect time to revisit them. It's not too late in the year to accomplish the ones we may have forgotten or slacked off on. Even if it was a daily goal, you can pick it up for the next four months and still finish the year feeling good about yourself. Even though it feels like the year is winding down, there's still 1/3 of it left, plenty of time to accomplish things.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm pretty sure in January I wrote down something to be doing about now.