A few years ago I did some research into ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and how effective they really are. Most statistics show that roughly 70% of people will have abandoned their ‘resolutions’ by 15th January and what I found was that most of the population think of New Year’s resolutions as something that you need to ‘try’ really hard at.
In considering my research, I realised that many struggling to make those ‘resolutions’ a reality are sabotaging themselves by doing one or more of the following…
- They wait til January – I believe that change and development is a process of constant evolution. Waiting until December or January to decide that we will become better versions of ourselves seems like a waste of the rest of the year! Please don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a big picture plan to know where you’re going, and the milestones, month to month, week to week tracking/review is what really allows you to see your progress.
- Their definition is flawed – “Resolution” loosely defined is to find an answer to something. That doesn’t mean that we have taken action on it. For example: You know that the answer to having more energy is to shed a few kilos BUT that doesn’t mean that you have committed to eat well, exercise consistently and actually take action on the solution, right? A big part of achieving change is your commitment to take action on a decision/answer. People who succeed in their goals make a plan and then take action!
- Their Frame of Mind is not supporting their outcome – Most resolutions start off on the wrong foot with negative language or lack of something. For example: “I’m going to give up…” “I will quit….” “I want to lose…” This mentality focuses on the thing that you don’t want (Remember: your unconscious mind cannot process negatives so it just draws more attention to the thing you want to have and that you’re denying yourself). This lack mentality, creates negative emotions of ‘fear/anxiety’ that you won’t succeed or guilt when you don’t stick to your plan.
- They’re not clear on what it is they actually want: “I want to be happy this year”, “I want to have more money this year” – these sound great but what do they really mean? Happiness could be a moment with your kids/partner – that would be achieved then wouldn’t it? You could bank an extra $1 than you did last year – that would be achieved wouldn’t it? NO?! That’s right, because you meant something different. How would you know if you got it, specifically?
So here’s a few things to do to make 2016 the year that you get stuff done, a year that you can look back and say “I achieved…”
- Set Commitments – Rather than resolutions, set yourself up with some commitments. This carries more weight and becomes a promise. Make a plan, take action on your commitment and make it consistent.
- Know what you want and move toward it – The S.M.A.R.T. Principles are great for get Specific on what you want and if your ‘itty bitty s%^&y committee’ is sitting on your shoulder saying you can’t have it, then you will most like lose motivation.
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- Set Milestones and rewards – Most people make the goal so BIG that they overwhelm themselves before the start. Set an end goal, then work backwards to create milestones that you can check in on to make sure you’re on track.
- Make it physical/action/outcome – I see many people focus on a goal that is not measurable, they know that they want it but there’s no action to support the attainment. STOP, DO, and you will have. Take action! Whether it’s picking up the phone to connect with someone, getting out of bed 30mins earlier for a walk or simply blocking out some time in your diary to do some meditation… the key here is to DO not think about Doing.
- Change your language – The relationship you have with yourself is an important one. Instead of using language like: “I’m giving up…” see how you feel about: “I’m choosing to be/do/have…” It’s much more empowering as it communicates the goal in a better way to your unconscious mind.
In 10 years of coaching at Life Puzzle I have seen many people spend a lot of time dreaming about how the year will be different and yet they are still ‘trying’ to achieve the same outcomes when you talk to them again at the next turn of the calendar year. So please, Instead of ‘trying’ just start ‘doing’ and if you need a little help you may wish to join us at Quest 4 Your Best.
Make those Commitments your Reality and until next time,
Be well and Be Empowered!