The start of a fresh new year and a brand new decade is upon us! It’s a clean slate, full of promise and possibility. The start of a new year is also synonymous with New Year’s resolutions. Whether we want to get fit, eat healthier, spend more time with those we care about, or even to give more attention to our mental health, come January 1st, well-intended resolutions are a dime a dozen. Resolutions are not limited to our personal lives. Our professional lives also get a sprinkling of fresh new hopes and dreams. We may want to be more efficient, more productive, more consistent, or more goal-oriented.
If you’re a podcaster, your resolutions may involve putting out more episodes, engaging with listeners more regularly, or amping up your social media presence. No matter what sphere our resolutions fall in, we all make them… but very few people actually stick to them. And while the fickleness of our resolutions is not a complete shock, I was super surprised to learn that most of these resolutions never even get to see February, let alone the rest of the year! Yip! That’s right! According to statistics gathered by the experts among us, most resolutions peter out by the end of January1, with only 8% of people actually achieving their goals by the time the ball drops again in Times Square! And while that may sound disheartening, take courage, we are here to help you beat the odds and crush your goals this year.
So if you’re determined to be counted among that 8% and see your resolutions through, keep reading! We’ve got tips and tricks to help you stick it out for the long haul.
Related read: How to Stay Motivated to Keep Podcasting
1. Set Specific Goals
Step Numero Uno to achieving your resolutions this year is to make sure they are specific. But how exactly does one set specific goals? Well, one tried and tested method is to set SMART goals. SMART goals are by no means a measure of intelligence, rather SMART is an acronym and tool used the world over to help specify and solidify your goals.
In order for a resolution or goal to be SMART, it must be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, and TIMELY.
What does that mean exactly? Well, to set a SMART goal you must:
Make It Specific
A sure way for your resolutions or goals to fail is if you set ones that are too vague. Saying you want to “get fit” is great! But it’s not specific enough to help you reach your goal. Rather state your goal in a quantifiable way, such as “I want to run 5 miles (without feeling like passing out).” If you’re setting professional goals for your podcast, for instance, instead of stating that you want to “be more productive”, specifically state what that looks like. Perhaps it’s recording more shows a week, or maybe it’s putting out daily content on Instagram. Whatever your goals, remember, the magic starts in the specifics.
Make It Measurable
Now that you’ve made your goal specific, it’s time to make it measurable. So you want to run 5 miles? Now you need to set yourself a target. For instance, being able to run 5 miles in under 60 minutes. Or when it comes to podcasting, publishing two episodes a week instead of one. Giving yourself something to measure your progress against will help you stay motivated to keep pushing forward to reach your goals. Having a tangible way to measure your success, whether it’s against the clock, or crossing steps off of a list is a great way to check your progress and assess whether or not you’re still on target to resolve your resolution.
Make It Attainable
If you want your resolutions to stick, it’s also really important to ensure that your goals are attainable. You may want to get fit, but if you know without a shadow of a doubt that you absolutely detest running, perhaps you need to rethink the specifics of your resolution! Maybe you should consider something you actually could enjoy, like spinning, pilates, or maybe even boxing. The overall goal remains the same, but the method of achieving that goal is one that will help make it more likely that you’ll achieve that goal come the end of the year. With your podcast, you may want to be more productive, but if you simply don’t have the time for two episodes a week, perhaps you should shift your goal to starting a blog to enhance your audio content, or finding new ways to connect with your audience that is quick and easy to do in the stride of your day. You’ll still be increasing your productivity, but in a way that is attainable for you in your current circumstances.
Make It Realistic
The R in SMART stands for realistic – in order to achieve your resolutions, they need to be realistic. It’s all good and well to want to get fit, but if you’ve never really run before, it would be unrealistic to attempt to run a marathon any time soon. While it may sound like a great idea on paper, and it’s good to challenge yourself, if your goal is too lofty – like trying to record two or five episodes a week if you barely have time for one. When you start seeing your goal move further and further out of your reach, you’ll become less and less motivated, and may quit altogether. Rather find that sweet spot between “challenging” and “realistic” and the odds of you reaching your goals will greatly increase!
Make It Timely
Finally, the last step to creating a SMART goal is to make it timely. This simply means setting a date for when you’d like to see your goal achieved. If we use our running 5 miles as our goal, you could look for an upcoming 5-mile run that you could sign up for. Remember, it’s important for the deadline to be realistic (see above!), but having a date set for when you’d like to see your goal achieved will go a long way to ensuring that goal becomes a reality. For your podcast, you might find yourself to be more productive if you can record ahead and build an episode bank to work with. This way you can release more episodes in a week by getting them done ahead of time. So set a date for when you want to have X amount of episodes recorded by to fill your episode bank.
Related read: 8 Strategies for Faster Podcast Editing
2. Create A Plan
Once you’ve got your SMART goals in place, you need to create a plan of action to achieve those goals. Whether you’re an avid bullet journaler or prefer using a digital calendar, it’s important to incorporate your new goals into your routine. Schedule times within your week to tackle your new challenge – whether it’s making time for added content creation, running, or scheduling a coffee date with a friend – stick it in your calendar, and you’ll be more likely to stick to the plan.
Pro Tip: If you want to achieve your goals, write them down! Science says we’re more likely to follow through with our plans once we’ve put pen to paper2. Writing something down strengthens our commitment to the task through the process of encoding. Basically, if we write something down, we’re more likely to remember to actually do it.
Related read: How to Start a Podcast 2020 Edition
3. Take Small Steps
How do you eat an elephant? The answer? One bite at a time. The underlying message here is that anything is achievable if you just take one small step at a time. The same applies to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions. The temptation is often to dive right in, head first, and hit the ground running at lightning speed. This sounds great but is often not sustainable in the long run. A better plan is to take small, daily steps towards the end goal. Little by little, you’ll move closer to reaching your goal, and you’ll avoid burning out along the way.
Related read: How to Plan for Recording Your First Podcast Episode
4. Hone Your Focus
This is just a fancy way of saying “aim to focus on one thing at a time”. While you may have many things you want to achieve this year – in both your personal and professional life – it may not be the best idea to start the new year off with a bang and get the ball rolling in all areas, all at once. A better plan is to pick one or two of your resolutions and work on those until they become part of your routine. Once those become habits, you can start on the next set of goals. It may seem slow-going at first, but as the saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” So hone your focus, pace yourself, and you’ll find yourself achieving all you’ve set out to come the next New Year’s Eve party.
Related read: How to Revamp Your Podcast for 2020
5. Gather Support
Research3,4 tells us that one of the keys to achieving our goals is having a solid support system around us. This support could come in the form of asking a friend or trusted colleague to be your accountability partner to hold you to your goals. Or it could mean they join you on your quest if your goals align. An accountability partner can help encourage you and keep you motivated, but they can also give advice or act as a sounding board as you work towards your goals.
Another great source of support would be joining a group that shares your goal. That way, you’ve got a whole host of people in your corner supporting you, and to whom you can also offer support. This will help keep your motivation levels fully-charged as they give advice and support you through your resolution journey. It can also be a great motivation for achieving your own goals when you can encourage and support others in achieving theirs. You may even make some great friends along the way! (If building new relationships is another one of your goals for the year, then you’ll achieve two goals for the price of one! Score!)
Pro Tip: Before asking someone to be your accountability partner, or asking them to tackle the goal with you, you need to be sure they are as serious as you are about achieving the end result. Otherwise, it will be too tempting for you both to quit when the motivation wanes.
Related read: The Top 8 Benefits of Having a Podcast Co-Host
6. Be Kind To Yourself
Lastly, as you pursue your goals, it is important that you’re not too hard on yourself when you trip over a metaphoric hurdle. Whether you cheated on your diet and ate Cadbury eggs instead of scrambled, or you didn’t quite reach your content quota for the week, be kind to yourself. Use these perceived “failures” as learning curves. Learn as much as you can in order to avoid making the same mistake again. Simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give it another go!
Related read: Should My Podcast Episodes be Shorter or Longer?
There you have it, our top tips and tricks to help you stick to your resolutions this year. Make sure your goals are SMART, create a workable plan, and take small, daily steps. If you hone your focus and gather a great support system around you, you’ll keep motivated to tick those resolutions off the list – rather than crossing them out in defeat. Most importantly, as you journey towards your goals, remember to be kind to yourself.
There are going to be days along the way where you miss the mark, fall into old habits, or you just don’t feel up to chasing your dreams, and that’s ok! Don’t be so hard on yourself that you give up altogether. Cut yourself some slack, and then pick yourself back up and keep on hustling! Put these strategies into practice and they’re bound to help you and your resolutions beat the statistics. Come the next New Year’s countdown, you’ll be ready to set and achieve a brand new list of resolutions.
1. New York Post – https://nypost.com/2018/12/21/new-years-resolutions-last-exactly-this-long/
2. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/#7d48b5137905
3. Develop Good Habits – https://www.developgoodhabits.com/accountability-partner/
4. Liberationist – https://liberationist.org/how-to-increase-your-chances-of-success-get-an-accountability-partner/