Every year, people make New Year’s Resolutions, but over half of them will fail. Why? The answer usually lies in our motivation and our goal-setting strategy. Whether you want to improve your fitness, eat healthier, spend less time on social media, the step-by-step STUPID framework will get you started.

First Thing First, Decide

Many people throw themselves at their goal-setting endeavor without committing themselves up front. Before you consider the goal you want to achieve, commit yourself to change your life. This may sound vague, but it’s an essential step toward success. When you resolve to transform your life, you make it a lot easier to follow through with your goals.

Devise a Winning Goal-Setting Strategy

You have heard a lot about SMART goal-setting; I am sure. But here I won’t ask you to set SMART goals. Your goals should be STUPID—Strategic, Takes into Consideration, Useful, Positive, Inspiring, and Doable. The STUPID framework will allow you to set, reach, and maintain your goals while accounting for your well-being and relationships with loved ones.

  • Strategic. Long-term goals can’t be adequately quantified. Therefore, you must be strategic. Being strategic means setting a long-term goal and the means—short- and medium-term aims—of achieving it. For instance, an effective goal statement will sound like this: I want to increase my muscle mass by 10 kg this year. To reach my goal, I devote my time to reach half of that target six months from now. I will go to the gym at least three times a week and will exercise for one hour each time. Within four weeks, I will have added one kilogram of muscle mass. In this simple statement, you set a big picture and very specific steps that you will take toward attaining your goal. It is actionable and provides you with ways of assessing your progress.
  • Takes into consideration. You must be clear about how the goal fits in your current lifestyle. Will it affect your health? Will working toward that goal have unintended consequences? We are less likely to achieve a goal if it is positive in some aspects and brings chaos to others.

  • Useful. Why are you trying to achieve your goal? Regardless of your level of willpower, you will need to fight the downward pull of boredom and complacency. Knowing your purpose for achieving your goal is your first weapon to moving forward.

  • Positive. Notice the wording in this sentence: I want to increase my muscle mass by 10 kg?” It doesn’t mention the terms “losing weight.” It tells you what you want, not what you are trying to eliminate. Research shows we are more likely to persevere toward our goals when we state them in the positive. Negative goal-setting statements will shut down neural paths critical to learning. See yourself as a glass half full.

  • Inspiring. Your goal must engage your emotions. Do you feel excited just talking about your new exercise routine? One way to be emotionally involved with your goal is to size it appropriately. Goals that are too lofty or excessively small are less likely to keep us excited.

  • Doable. How much influence do you have on your goal-setting process? What skills do you need to gain? You must ensure you have all the skills required to reach your goal.

There you have it. You may have tried consistently and failed, but I’m confident the year 2022 is your year to reach your goal.