Now that Christmas is over and 2017 is coming to a close, it’s time to start looking to the future. Newsflash: “next year” is less than one week away. That fact can be terrifying for some people, and empowering for others, especially those who make New Year’s Resolutions. Statistically, about 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. Interestingly, 72.6% maintain their resolution for the first week. At two weeks the success rate drops to 68.4%, and at one month it dips to 58.4%. After six months 44.8% of people keep their resolutions, but alas, typically only 8% can keep their resolution for the entire year. I don’t mean to dishearten you with these stats. In fact, I want you to be part of the 8% success rate. So how do we make that happen?
First of all, let’s be a little more positive. Did you know that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10x more likely to succeed at their goals than people who don’t? Let’s talk about goals. You’ve probably heard that they should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). Sure that’s a great acronym for a poster, but in real life often it’s not that black and white. Let’s look at history:
2017’s Top New Year’s Resolutions:
11. Find a better job
10. Find the love of my life
9. Do more good deeds for others
8. Learn something new
7. Work out more
6. Spend more time with friends and family
5. Do more exciting things
4. quit smoking
3. Better financial decisions
2. Life / Self Improvements
1. Lose weight / eat healthier
About half of those things can’t be quantified. Seriously, how do you measure progress on finding a better job? I guess you could graph how many applications you send out, and how many interviews you schedule, but that’s kind of depressing. In a perfect world the stats would be 1:1 with a perfect job becoming available to you at the perfect time, and you submit the perfect application and resume and ace the interview and take the better job with better pay and better opportunities… yeah, it sounds like a dream to me too.
So, here are my top 5, realistic tips for smashing the hell out of your New Year’s Resolution, no matter what it is. These 5 tips are a great action plan that is easy to understand and follow. Seriously, I don’t know why no one has laid it out like this before! Keep reading, I’m actually going to give you 4 of the 5 tips now, and if you like what I’m saying I will email you my #1 tip.
Here we go:
5. Plan your resolution like you are planning to run a marathon. Don’t just give yourself a black and white objective. You can’t be a couch potato one day who has never trained for a marathon, and the next day plan to run it perfectly, finish in a good time, and not throw up. It takes planning, hard work and persistence to be able to do something that big and succeed. Plan out your resolution the same way. Think of steps you need to be successful and plan them out intentionally.
4. Speaking of planning, schedule your resolution- use your favorite calendar, not a fake one you’re not used to looking at (been there!). If that’s an app, an organizer, or your iphone calendar, set appointments with yourself and put reminders in as much as you can. Want to read more? Schedule a weekly trip to the library. Actually schedule it, don’t just make a mental note. Heading to the gym more? Schedule that too. Eating healthier? Schedule a meal prep day at the beginning of each week and maybe a healthy themed day of the week like “Soup & Salad Saturday,” or “Fish Friday.” Make your schedule for at least 3 months, 6 if you can. It takes 6 months of doing a habit for it to become part of your personality.
3. The actual point of a New Year’s Resolution is not to do a habit for a year and revert back to your former self. It is to do a habit enough for a year to hopefully become part of your identity and personality. For this to happen, you should start the early stages (and late stages) talking about your resolution, to anyone who will listen. By talking about your New Year’s Resolution, you make yourself accountable. (No one wants to talk about goals and admit they gave up on them.) Additionally, when you talk about your goals, you invite other people to become your accountability partners. Sometimes you really do need to talk to someone else about your goals in order to keep motivation up. Whether it’s a cheerleader, a partner in crime, or a kick in the ass, it’s nice to have someone checking in on your goals and keeping you accountable.
2. Invest in yourself and your resolution. By spending money on your resolution you are more likely to keep it. Learning a new language? Buy a book or an online course and commit to using it. Feel like working out more? Buy a gym membership or clothes to wear to the gym. One catch though- make sure the stakes are high enough for you to care about them. $10 a month for a gym membership might be easy to disregard and blow off. Make sure the investment is a noticeable squeeze on your wallet; something painful to part with that guilts you into following through. For example: there are a few websites that place bets on your weight loss. If that seems too weird for you, try rewarding yourself by putting a dollar in a jar every time you go to the gym. When you reach $30 for 30 days, buy yourself a new gym outfit or treat yourself to a mani pedi, or save it and try to make $300 during the year. If you are trying to save money, pay yourself for good deeds. When you make your own lunch instead of grabbing fast food, put $3-$5 in a jar, and when you succeed 10x, you’ll have $30-$50 more in your pocket that wouldn’t have been there.
For my #1 tip that will help you succeed at your New Year’s Resolution, sign up for my free emails, below. I promise it is an easy step that will help you be part of the 8% successful. I also promise not to spam you, and keep contact to once or twice a month. I can’t wait to share this tip with you! See you on the other side!
(Statistics in this article are from https://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/)