New Year – New Resolutions

Ah, another new year is upon us…a time of re-newal, re-juvenation and oh yeah, re-solution. Why is it that people feel compelled to make life changing pronouncements at this juncture? Studies show that fewer than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are ever kept. What, then, can increase the percentage rate of success? Here are a few quick tips that may improve your chances of achieving your objective:

  1. Pick ONE goal. This sounds like common sense, but many people feel if one resolution is good, ten will be better. Come December 31st, you may be left asking yourself what your resolution was!
  2. Set a date and plan to remove excuses. Once your start date is established, note what barriers you may have at the beginning. If you want to eat healthier, remove the junk food in your home and replace it with what you do want to eat. If you are going to exercise more, purchase workout clothes, necessary equipment, or a gym membership. One less obstacle between you and your goal puts you one step closer to achieving it.
  3. Write it down and be positive. Whether you write your objective as “lose weight” or “weigh 160 pounds by June 1st” can be the difference between failure and success. The first phrase has no clear outcome beyond losing something and can be achieved by removing loose pocket change! The latter includes both a target and a deadline.
  4. Keep track. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re changing habits and transitioning to something new—especially if you like or enjoy what you are currently doing! A tracking system can help you see when you’ve made progress…even if it’s small progress. And if you begin to drift from your goal, you can easily make corrections.
  5. Use a visual motivator. Whether it’s a picture of a vacation paradise to motivate you to save; or an old pair of your favorite jeans you want to fit into again, visual inspiration is a powerful tool. Keep it in front of you—especially in a place where temptation is easiest to cross.
  6. Don’t give up. Sometimes a simple setback can result in a person abandoning their goal. This can also be a cop-out. The attitude that “there’s always next year” can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. It takes at least 21 days to form a habit, so plan for at least 30. Once an old, negative, or destructive habit is replaced, it’s much harder for it to return.

Resolutions shouldn’t be a meager commitment made in the excitement of the New Year hype. A resolution is a type of promise made to oneself. You have a whole year to follow-through. It may be difficult, but most meaningful achievements are. If success were that easy, everyone would be doing it!

More on goals and resolutions here and here.