3 WAYS TO MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS THAT STICK
Posted by Stella Lang on 01 Jan 2020
As we are ringing in a new year, many people are pondering their New Year’s resolutions. A new decade also means people are reflecting on their past ten years. Whilst I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, I am a huge fan of reflection and goal setting. The start of a new year provides the perfect backdrop to do just that. Looking at what you achieved in the last year and celebrating it. But also, what are the opportunities you have missed? What are the things that prevented you from not achieving your ambitions?
And I guess that is how New Year’s resolutions were born. The reason why I am not a fan of NY resolutions isn’t because of the action itself, but rather the timeliness of it. I firmly believe that you should not wait for that one time a year to reflect, process and reset. Instead, you should do it on a regular basis. A bit like when you are on a car journey and regularly check on your progress. And just like a car journey, your resolution should have a clearly defined destination.
According to a US News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is approximately 80 percent while most people already break their resolution halfway through February.
So, how can you create resolutions that you can stick to? The most important part of a resolution or goal is to have an action plan. Without an action plan, you are setting yourself up for failure. Failing to plan is planning to fail and all that….
1. YOUR ‘WHY?’
This is single-handedly the most important factor in having successful goals or resolutions. Your ‘Why’ will be your motivator. Most resolutions are related to health and wellbeing, but saying ‘I want to become fit’ in 2020 is simply not going to cut it. Instead, a resolution stating ‘I want to be the best version of myself in 2020 so I can be happy and healthy and show up as the best mother for my children and wife for my husband’ has more weight to it. Of course, ‘mother and wife’ can be replaced with whatever suits you: husband/father/daughter/son/brother/sister/colleague/boss/friend etc’. Your ‘why’ must be so strong—and clearly defined—that when you falter, it helps to pick you up and jump right back into becoming that ‘best version of yourself’.
2. CHOOSE ONE GOAL (at a time)
Instead of having a list of things you’d like to achieve in 2020, decide on your ONE goal. Your ‘Why’ will determine your ‘One Goal’. If your ‘Why’ is to be a healthier, better version of yourself for your family, determine what is the one thing currently holding you back from being that person. What is that one domino, that when it is in place, the rest will fall into sequence automatically? Is it to be more energetic? If so, what gives you energy? If it is exercising, starting with a healthy exercise regime will be your one goal. You don’t have to restrict yourself to just one resolution for the year but you MUST stick to one goal at a time.
Once you have integrated your goal as part of your daily routine, you can add another like drinking enough water or adding more greens to your diet. The key is to focus on ONE thing at a time. Once you feel it is firmly part of your daily routine, you can add another. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology states that it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.
3. A DATE WITH YOUR RESOLUTION
I don’t mean like a romantic date but rather a daily commitment. Once you have identified your ‘Why’ and ‘One Goal’, it is important to establish exactly what portion and time of the day you will allocate to your goal. Keep it simple and realistic and start with forty-five minutes to one hour a day. You need to be specific and you need to make sure it is achievable. Starting off with a two-hour slot will make you falter at the first hurdle. You must set yourself up for success.
Once you identified the length of time, define what time of the day it will need to happen. You must pen it into your daily schedule and treat it as an appointment with your most important client or stakeholder. It is easy to push our own goals to the side when your family, friend or clients/colleagues/boss ask something of you but you must respect this time. This is the most important commitment you will make to yourself and it should not be something that you can easily push to a ‘later time or date’. Even if it means getting up an hour earlier every day to dedicate to your goal, find a way to make it happen. And, if something outside of your control happens that prevent you from making that slot, find an alternative slot within the next 24 hours. Do not get disheartened if you missed a day or two. The most important bit is to jump right back in before you break the cycle.
So, whilst most of us are recovering from our post-Christmas indulgence and relaxation, schedule some time with yourself to work through your 2020 resolution. It might mean you take a walk on your own or just wander in your garden with a cup of tea. Whatever way you choose to do it, make sure you fully focus on yourself and what you want to get out of the year. Importantly, don’t treat it as something that has to happen on January 1st. If you only get to start on January 8th, that is perfect as well. Just as long as you start at some point in the near future with the right mindset and determination.
Here’s to a truly spectacular 2020 for you!