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Why Some People Can Always Stick to Their New Year Resolution throughout the Year

Why Some People Can Always Stick to Their New Year Resolution throughout the Year

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.

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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.

new year resolution

    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.

    1. To Exercise More
    2. To Eat Less
    3. To Stop Smoking (or another unhealthy habit)
    4. To Eat Healthy
    5. 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.

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    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

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    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.

    Start Small

    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.

    Accountability Buddy

    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.

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    Forgive yourself

    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.

    Motivation

    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

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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