Right about now I'm sure that you're bombarded with "New Year's resolutions" and people telling you all sorts of things about having a great year. Well that's all fine and good, but here's the deal: most people won't achieve their goals or resolutions for a large number of reasons, but YOU don't need to be one of those people!
The reality is with a little help; an honest evaluation; and some passion, you can achieve all of your goals in 2012 and beyond.
Here are three ways to help you do things you have always dreamed of in 2012:
Set Action-Based Goals and Not Outcome-Based Goals
This is a great point that I commonly read from personal trainer (and cancer survivor) extraordinaire Alwyn Cosgrove. The difference between action-based and outcome-based is just that; action-based goals are based only on the action performed (like completing a workout) and not outcome-based (like squatting 400 pounds).
I'm not against all outcome-based goals (in fact I believe they are helpful in many cases), however, I believe MOST people are not consistent enough with trying to achieve their goals. If you want to become a better free-throw shooter, you need to shoot often and with good form. If you want to shoot 90 percent from the line, you still need to shoot often and with good form. You can't shoot 90 percent without those two elements. So before you decide to shoot 90 percent, decide to shoot regularly and with solid form; then you can add the other goal of 90 percent.
Final Point: Action-based goals must precede outcome-based goals.
Use the Basketball Game Method: Quarters
Once you've set a goal, back into the starting point by breaking the goal down into quarters (four pieces). Using the above example, let's say that your goal of becoming a better free throw shooter means that you've decided you're going to shoot five days a week.
One quarter of the year is roughly 13 weeks (52 weeks divided by four). So if you do the math, you'll shoot free throws 65 days in the first quarter of the year (5 times 13 weeks = 65). When you realize that you only need to complete 65 days of free-throw shooting in the months of January, February and March, all of a sudden it seems not so bad.
On top of that, with my above example, I've put no number of free throws even taken (not to mention free throws made) so that on a given day you may shoot 200 free throws, but on another day you may only take 10. The advantage of this is that it helps build a habit (shooting regularly) without feeling like you're forcing yourself to shoot.
The advantage of this is that you are able to focus on a much shorter (and action-based) goal that lasts only three months. This means that your chances of adhering to the goal (and the ultimate in long-term success) are higher than otherwise.
Final Point: Break your goals into quarterly target goals.
Pick Your One "Snowball" Goal
One common mistake most people make is that they decide on choosing too many goals at once. While it's great to be motivated, the reality is that the more goals you have, the more likely you are to fail.
Choose your one "snowball" goal and attack that with reckless abandon. What is a snowball goal? A snowball goal is a single goal that leads to achieving other goals. Smart and successful people understand that goals are often intertwined and that achieving success in one goal helps you to achieve success in another goal at the same time (without even realizing it).
If you take our example from above (free throw shooting), your improvement will also carry over to other areas of shooting. Improving your shooting form and quality of your free throw stroke will help improve your 3-point shooting, shooting off of the dribble, etc. (remember that your shooting stroke should be the same no matter what shot you take).
If you're having trouble finding your snowball goal, grab a scrap piece of paper and start writing down your goals and work back into them. It takes a little thought but can save you a ton of time in achieving long-term success. One simple way to do this is to write down three goals and then write down the three most important qualities for each goal. Next, look at the nine important qualities that you wrote down and start to find similarities in them. Start with the goal that has more elements than the others. If you still don't know, add two more qualities to each goal and then go from there.
Final Point: Finding your snowball goal will lead to multiple goals.