Last week I spoke at a business lunch about the reasons New Year’s Resolutions fail and how to overcome these roadblocks to success.
I asked the audience these questions:
How many of you set New Year’s Resolutions?
One person raised their hand, I then asked
How many people set Goals?
The response was almost unanimous, everyone set goals.
My reaction was to tell them that goals and resolutions were the same thing. That maybe New Year’s Resolution needed a re branding exercise to help us see that setting resolutions is the same as setting goals.
The following evening at a similar event, I spoke to a group of people whose goals for 2013 were predominately to get organized and clear the clutter from their lives. Again we spoke about New Years Resolutions and Goals.
On my drive home I realized that I had made a mistake, that I shouldn’t be telling people that Resolutions are the same as goals. Even though resolutions are a type of goal they are in fact very different and should be treated differently.
The majority of people who set New Year’s Resolutions set one of the following.
- To Exercise More
- To Eat Less
- To Stop Smoking (or another unhealthy habit)
- To Eat Healthy
- To Learn something new (languages, music etc)
And although these may appear on the outside to be normal goals, they are all a particular type of goal. They all require a new habit to be formed. I realized that in order for people to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions and achieve their goals, they had to understand that what they attempted to achieve included the adoption of a new habit.
By understanding this difference, New Year’s Resolutions can be approached in a manner that will support their acquisition and your personal success.
How do we make our New Year Resolution last throughout the year?
By understanding what is required to achieve your goal and what new habit can help you achieve it you are more likely to get what you want. It is also important to understand how new habits are formed and how to ensure these new habits remain.
Below are some tips to help you create the new habits that will ensure you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions this year
Be clear about what you want to achieve
Goal: To Lose weight
New Habit required: The habit of regular exercise
Goal: To write a book
New Habit Required: The habit of writing
Goal: To Eliminate Debt
New Habit Required: The habit of budgeting
One at a time
Many people fail with New Year’s Resolutions because they try too much too soon. Try one new habit at a time to gain from the power of single focus.
Make the change little by little, want to run a 10K don’t attempt it on the first day. The best advice I ever got was that ten minutes a day can write a book. When the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming you are more likely to keep it up. Better to do ten minutes a day of yoga than an hour a week. Small and regular is better than big and irregular!
Use a Trigger
If you are creating a new habit do it at the same time everyday, if you want to start running in the morning, create a morning routine so that you do the same thing every morning. Our brains function better with routine, get out of bed, go to the bathroom and put on your running shoes.
Research shows that percentage of successful resolutions increases hugely when you are accountable to someone. We give ourselves a break far too often but when we have to do something for someone else it’s more likely to happen.
My favorite quote this year “It doesn’t matter if you fall down what matters is how long you stay on the floor” Very few people are successful 100% of the time, failure is part of life. Accept that, forgive yourself and move on.
When you motivation fades, remind yourself why you want to create the new habit, how will your life be different if you achieve what you set out to achieve? Connecting with the reasons why will motivate you to keep going. And if your reasons why don’t motivate you anymore maybe you should try something new!
Featured photo credit: Athlete running on the road in morning sunrise training for marathon and fitness. Healthy active lifestyle latino woman exercising outdoors via Shutterstock