It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the past year and firmly decide that we are going to make significant changes in our lives, and it’s all going to start in the first week of January. Have you been considering what changes you’ll be making in the new year? I am going to share something with you that you may not want to hear. The probability that you will not follow through on your resolutions is quite high. According to these statistics, only 8% will follow through. (The source according to the site is from a study done at the University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology.)
The only resolution that you should be making this year is that you will no longer be making New Year’s Resolutions. That’s it! Take the concept and throw it out the window. You may be asking why? It comes down to simple mathematics, and I stated it in the previous paragraph, the failure rate is very high. Why would you want to invest in something that that will almost guarantee failure? So, what’s the solution?
Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
The main reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail is because the change is too drastic and your self-image doesn’t change in time to accept the new habits or lifestyle. As you move forward in the process of trying to attain whatever you set out for, you struggle with what you want and your self-image. In the back of your mind, you have this little voice telling you that you can’t do it. Why are you putting yourself through this pain? It’s stupid, just quit already. Before you know it, you start agreeing with that little voice, and you stop progressing. The goals that you have set for yourself, conflict with how you see yourself.
Establish a System for Life-Long Change
Now that you know why resolutions will fail you, what do you do? Resolutions are not bad. It’s the approach that most people take that’s not effective. They tend to be too drastic. It only takes a moment to decide, but the process of change will take some time. How many years has it taken you to get to where you are? That process started off with a small change, then compounded over the years, it got to where you are now. This is true for areas of your life that you appreciate and areas that you want to improve in.
This new year, rather than focusing on a particular thing, like weight loss, for example, consider starting to work on a method to attain all of your goals and dreams. Create a system for yourself. Then, every new year should be used to review your progress, refresh your goals, and create new plans.
Steps to Attaining Your Goals
1. Start writing! Get into the habit of documenting your goals and plans. Write them on paper or in a digital document. This step is crucial. There is power in writing things down.
2. Be specific in what you want to attain. Don’t just say that you want to lose weight, set a specific target.
3. Be specific in the date that you would like to attain these goals. This is an area that I believe where people get too aggressive. Let’s say you want to lose 20lbs. The chances are that it took some time for you to gain this weight. The desire to want to lose 20lbs in two months is there, and it is possible to attain, but the trick is to keep it off. We want to focus on life-altering decisions that last a life-time. Be fair to yourself and take into consideration what life throws at you. If you miss your target date, no worries, reassess the date and plan and keep going.
4. Write down the cost. There is a price to pay in whatever choices you make. If you choose to do nothing about the extra pounds, the price that you pay is quite high. You will possibly pay in loss of self-esteem, confidence and potentially, overall health. What are you willing to give up? Is it late night snacking or the dessert after every meal? Maybe that extra glass of wine or beer?
5. Plan. Write down your thoughts on how you think you will be able to attain your goal. This is somewhat of a plan, but more general. The reason I don’t state writing a plan down is because most people don’t know how to where to start. Just write down how you think you’ll be able to attain your goal.
6. Review your goals and “plan” at least weekly.
7. Keep your goals in front of you daily and say them out load. Place your goals in places that you often frequent, like the fridge, desk or even bathroom. You can write on a piece of paper, keep it with you and look at it throughout the day.
8. Every New Year, review and start the process all over again.
When you read this list, you may think it’s too much work. More than anything, it’s a habit, and once you create it, it’ll be like anything else. You’ll just do it.
Point #4 states that there is a cost. If you decide to follow this list or not, you will have to pay a price. The cost of doing nothing is not nothing. 0+0=0 does not work in this scenario. You are always fighting a negative. It is better to pay the price of discipline than the price of procrastination.