Updated: Jan 19
Happy New Year!!!
Welcome to 2020!
So, you’ve made your resolutions.
This year you’re going to stick to them... Really!
I hate to be Debbie Downer but… according to the U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year's resolutions is about 80%, and most people lose their resolve as early as mid-February.
Later this month, I will give you some insights into Gretchen Ruben’s Four Tendencies and how they may help you to make your goals work for you instead of the other way around but today I want you to consider another outlook into the new year that we’ve just walked into.
The roaring twenties are upon us again and it’s up to us to make them as memorable as a century ago. Instead of flappers, dance halls, prohibition, and speakeasies; we can adopt a culture of personal growth and achievement, as well as community success and empowerment. We have the potential to make leaps and bounds, accelerating global progress and the humanity that is possible with the right combination of mindfulness, outreach, and industriousness.
Most resolutions begin from within - as they should! - but they take a funny, disorganised approach that, unfortunately, often leads to failure. I am - proudly - a psychology nerd and a learning geek so I went and did some reading about New Year's resolutions and goals in order to figure out why some work and others, the majority, just don't.
After doing this research, I found that the three main reasons for failure - in my humble opinion - are:
Lack of commitment
Lack of obligation
Lack of patience
Lack of commitment
It is extremely difficult to stay committed to an abstract goal. Have you ever tried to hold tight to a handful of sand? Or tried to back a cake without all of the ingredients, never-mind a recipe?
Most people know exactly WHAT they want to achieve but forget the tricky little notion of HOW.
A fabulous method used to organise and successfully execute New Year’s resolutions is through SMART goals. This is also a great way to track your progress which is also integral to a true commitment to your goals.
A SMART goal is:
Instead of “I’m going to lose weight and make healthy choices this year,”
elaborate and change it to something like:
“I want to lose XXlbs by next year. I will go to the gym X times/week for at least an hour, doing my pre-designed workout routine. I will also track and increase the number of steps I take daily to reach XX goal. I will monitor my food intake using my region’s healthy food guide and a food intake tracking app.”
You can easily see how having an achievable goal that is specific, measurable, relevant and time-based can increase your ability to remain committed to your resolutions.
Lack of obligation
It’s sometimes hard to prioritise your own wants and needs when so many other pressures present themselves to you daily - kids, work, relationships, house care, etc. Remaining focused and driven needs to stem from something deeper and more purposeful. In all that you do, resolutions or life-works, finding and succumbing to your WHY can provide the guiding star that keeps you devoted to your goal.
A few strategies to help you find and use your WHY:
Ask WHY 3-5x: Successively digging deeper and deeper into the true meaning for your goal which will eventually hit at the heart of things, providing the UMPH needed to keep diving on.
What excites you?: Weaving your passions into the HOW and WHY of your resolutions will allow you to enjoy the process as much as the destination.
Mantras: Using a themed word or short sentence can help ground you when you’re feeling any self-doubt or hesitation in your endeavors.
In your journey to finding your WHY, you may discover that your initial resolution didn’t entirely capture the results you want to see in yourself and the world around you. This may mean you have to reevaluate your WHAT and HOW in a way that has more impact. If you geek out over the interconnection of beings as I do then it may intrigue you to find out how involved your resolution choices are with the world at large and how these small changes can make ripples and a more widespread impact.
The science of WHY reinforces its importance in your resolutions and any other goals you choose to make throughout the year. It guides you in discovering who you really want to be and what you want to be remembered for which are far deeper, more meaningful ideas than a simple New Year’s resolution. When your goals hold this much weight, it’s easier to prioritise them and to feel that sense of obligation, and pride, in working towards and completing them.
Lack of patience
Even with a strong sense of WHAT you want, HOW to accomplish it, and WHY it’s so important, a person can become overwhelmed and frustrated with the process if they anticipate immediate gratification.
Our culture is so used to rapid results that it seems as though we have forgotten the old adage that good things come to those who wait. Real progress is made with consistent, focused perseverance; establishing good habits and making them second nature. Remember, working toward your resolutions is like running a marathon, not a sprint. If it was easy, everyone would do it; it’s not easy but it’s meaningful and worth working toward.
You CAN do it!
Once you’ve figured out your WHAT, HOW, WHY and also worked through the idea that this. will. take. TIME.
The final thing that holds people back from achieving their goals and resolutions is over-thinking. Too much thinking and not enough doing is analysis paralysis in action. Do what you can with what you have to make. it. happen. #makeithappen - My mug of choice tells me this every day. Can you guess what my mantra is? Using this method, you will be taking the first step toward being successful in your resolutions this year.
Remember, you can make goals any time throughout the year. New Year’s resolutions are a great reminder that each year brings new things, great change, and fabulous opportunity but so too does each new month, week, day, and moment!
If you can work through and establish a solid foundation of commitment, obligation, patience, and industriousness then you can meet and surpass any goal you set for yourself at any time.
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