images-3At the beginning of every year, people throughout the world look at their lives and make one or more New Year’s resolutions, vowing to change something that they consider to be negatively affecting their well being.

These resolutions are nothing more than an exercise in goal setting, and can be anything from losing weight, getting married, or finding a job to finally realizing financial freedom in one’s life.

Whatever the goal, people set themselves up for failure and disappointment by not following 3 very simple yet critical goal setting strategies.

1.  Goals must be very specific and in a definitive time frame.

Goals such as “I want to lose weight this year” or “I wish to achieve financial freedom sometime in the next 12 months” are far too general to be successfully met.

In addition, setting long-term goals without breaking them down in to smaller, more manageable steps more often than not result in failure.

Instead of having a goal to lose weight in the coming year, a more appropriate strategy would be to set weekly and monthly weight loss goals.

For example, if my goal were to lose 50 pounds by next January, I would set monthly goals of losing 4 pounds per month, or more succinctly a weight loss of 1 pound per week.

This seems far more attainable than losing 50 pounds in a year, and the chances of achieving this goal increase dramatically.

2.  Focus on accountability.

For any resolution to be successful, there must be some measure of accountability, or a feeling of taking responsibility for the success or failure of that goal.

Most people are only accountable to themselves, and this rarely works in goal setting.

A strategy that I have successfully used for the past year is that of an accountability partner or “running buddy,” a person that you are accountable to in working towards your goals.

This strategy is crucial to achieving goals and has been instrumental in my losing 65 pounds last year. I was accountable to my wife, who was also trying to lose weight.

By holding each other accountable, this served as a strong support system for achieving our short- and long-term goals.

If you do not have someone close by to serve as your accountability partner, there are other options, including the Internet.

Another goal I set last year was that of achieving financial freedom through my home business opportunity.

In order to achieve this, I needed someone who was in a similar business situation as I with the same goals.

I found this person through the Internet.

By using Google Documents, email, and the telephone we kept each other accountable to our monthly, weekly, and even daily activities and made great strides towards our long-term goals.

It has worked amazingly well, and we continue to be accountability partners to this day.

3.  Limit distractions.

There are numerous sources of distraction that can chip away at our productivity on a daily basis.

Email messages, phone calls, non-essential webinars and training calls, and meaningless meetings all serve to distract us from our goals.

You must put a system in place to limit these distractions.

Personally, I only check email messages twice per day (in the morning and evening), screen my phone calls, and am very selective as to which training calls and webinars I attend.

This allows me to focus all of my energies on achieving my daily activities that contribute towards realizing my long-term goals.

The setting of goals each January is ubiquitous throughout the world, yet in general less than 10% of people actually realize these goals, most having lost their drive by the end of January.

The reason for this high degree of failure usually lies in the lack of definitive goal setting strategies.

Using more specific goals of shorter duration combined with sharing accountability with another person and limiting unnecessary distractions will dramatically increase your chances of achieving your goals.

And when you meet your life goals, the result is an improvement in self-confidence and overall quality of life.