Studies on the holding power of New Year’s resolutions are inconclusive at best. One survey finds that 4 out of 5 people will eventually break their resolutions, while another reports a higher success rate. Yet, both agree that approximately a third of resolutions don’t make it past the first month. So now I bet you’re asking yourself, “how will I make it into the two-thirds that do get past the first month”?!
Starting with the right mindset and a plan will help you pass the people who are still sitting on the couch thinking about those goals for the next three months. The tips below will help you implement positive change in the New Year with a more positive mindset toward that change!
Significant change is not instant.
Most people center their goals around kicking a bad habit. Whether that habit is an inactive lifestyle, poor eating habits, or drinking too often, the bulk of New Year’s resolutions fall into this category.
What most people underestimate is the length of time it takes to kick a bad habit. Common knowledge says that the length of time it typically takes is 3 weeks. What most people don’t realize is that to solidify your new way of living into a habit your looking at a solid 60 days on average before that new habit becomes a lifestyle. The point here is that most people don’t realize just how long it’s going to take to reach that goal and they quit beforehand!
It’s better to do one thing wholeheartedly than 10 things halfway.
While most people have great intentions in choosing a healthy New Year’s goal, they often overdo it. Some of the most ambitious goals such as losing weight, and eating healthier are overzealous and require a lot of hard work and discipline. If one of these happens to fall into your long list of New Year’s goals then you are in for some heavy lifting! Rather than creating a long list of things you want to change this year, choose one goal and put your efforts into doing everything you can to achieve it!
Cold turkey is not necessarily hardcore, succeeding is.
If your goal is to cut back on sugar then to promise yourself you will “never eat sugar, ever again” is pretty extreme and unattainable! That would be called “quitting cold turkey” and while your intentions may be good, the follow through is going to be hard.
While this may work for some people, many find it more sustainable and successful to gradually drop unwanted habits. Find a way to scale back slowly that works for you.
You can’t skip the process.
It would be great if we could just jump to the end of the road but if the journey was never part of the destination then we would never learn all the lessons that help us solidify new habits along the way.
Don’t worry about the time it takes to get there or the process needed to arrive, it’s all part of the success of achieving goals and making them last a lifetime. Rather than worry about the end goal, just start somewhere. The journey is the destination.
Motivation has a shelf life.
No one stays motivated 365 days a year. Coming off of that Holiday High can be especially hard on motivation. Making big changes requires a large amount of self discipline, not to mention you have a whole year to accomplish those life changes, which makes procrastination a hard thing to avoid!
Short term daily or weekly goals that ultimately help you meet that larger goal can turn out to be much more successful in the long run. This can feel more rewarding more frequently and keep you moving towards those larger goals.
What to do instead...
Put less pressure on yourself by setting well-planned, forgiving intentions rather than die-hard, goal-oriented resolutions. The difference? An intention lacks the succeed-or-fail mindset. It also values effort, experience, and process rather than only results, and it is focused on the present rather than the future.
Base your intentions on what you want to be doing rather than what you think you should be doing, and it’ll make all the difference in the world.
Frame it positively. Instead of telling yourself you will watch less TV, or drop that extra weight, or be more social, why not enroll in a workout class and commit to going?
Photo courtesy of: Silver Sneakers