Build in Wiggle Room to Meet Your Goals


So by this time of year, you’ve probably either achieved your New Year’s Resolutions, or failed miserably (again) at checking any of the goals off your list. One of the reasons that people fail to achieve the goals they set for themselves is because they set the bar too high. Another is that rather than a set benchmark, the goal is rather vague and undefined (e.g., save money without a specific value or plan attached). Now new research finds that people who set flexible goals for themselves are more successful than those who make their resolutions uber-specific. For example, people looking to be more active who say they will go to the gym every day are more likely to give up than people who say they will exercise 3-6 days per week. People who strive to save $100 a month will fail more often than those who say they will save between $50 and $150 every month. Why? The lower margin gives you a goal that is attainable, easy to reach and allows you to feel satisfied that you’re making progress even when you slack off a bit on a busy or expensive week. Then the higher margin gives you something to strive for, and push yourself towards so that hitting the lower margin is slacking, while making the top number is really hitting it out of the park. Next time you’re making a plan for self-improvement, try giving yourself a little leeway to achieve what you desire.

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