Tired of people saying “New Year, New You.” We do too. The cliche remains the same. Most people stay the same too. According to Western Connecticut Health Network, as many as 50 percent of adults in the United States make New Year’s resolutions, but fewer than 10 percent actually keep them for more than a few months. Want to stay above the rest to ensure your success? Here’s how…
If you want to make a change in your life, you need to have the right mindset. Stray from the idea that you cannot succeed. If you think you’ll never change, then you’ll never change. To make changes in your life, you must have a willingness to learn. When you decide your New Year’s resolutions, do so with a growth mindset. A fixed mindset will only bring you back to step one the following year. Your mindset is the most important part of keeping your resolution, yet the most overlooked. Convince yourself that you are the type of person that commits to new habits and identify yourself with that.
Set SMART Goals
After you develop a growth mindset, determine how you want to achieve your resolution. Here’s a little tip, the best goals are SMART goals. Businesses use SMART goals to achieve results. Since it works for businesses, it can work for you too. A SMART goal has these five factors: specific, measurable, action-oriented, reasonable, and time-oriented. For example, “I want to lose 30 lbs. by working out one hour, four times per week. I will buy a gym membership and will have a better-shaped body by July 31st, 2017.”
Focus on One Goal at a Time
Do not begin every goal at once. The only consequence is stress, and you will less likely succeed. Put your time and effort into one goal. Once you have that goal accomplished or have a great start, then move onto the next goal. For example, go to the gym consistently for six months, then begin to drink less alcohol.
Write Down Your Goal
When you decide your SMART goals, write them down. Now you have created a vision for your goal. You can see the goal on paper. After you write the goal on paper, write down how you will achieve a goal. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes and write away. If you do not set a time limit, worries of failure will distract you.
Make a Plan
Once you have written down all the possible ways to achieve your goals, it is time to make a plan. To learn how to introduce or take away the behavior or change, you will need to use resources. Resources such as books, this blog post, and documentaries will add ammunition to your mental arsenal. The more you know, the better. Resources help you to create a timeline, and your strategy should develop into stages. If your plan has milestones, then you’ll likely have a clear direction to match your vision.
Ask for Support
You will likely succeed if you feel compelled to seek support from others. If you tell others that you want to make the change, they will help you. If you need some ideas on who to get support from, ask your spouse/partner, family, close friends, support groups, counselors, and psychologists.
As time rolls on you will need to track your progress. To know what to measure, refer to your SMART goal. Visualize the quantifiable aspects of your goal. To make measurability easier, you should have planned your success in stages. Track your progress weekly, and monthly, this will enable you to see the progress you have made.
3, 6, 12
While having a year-long goal is excellent, break it down. Make small goals so that way you can see yourself achieving something! You’ll be able to look back on your progress see all the hard work you’ve put in. If living a healthier life and losing weight along the way is a goal of yours, set goals for 3, 6, and 12 months. Even if you don’t hit the target every time, you’ll see your progress much easier!
From Small to Big
Similar to the number of goals you set, think about the type of goals you’re setting and make sure they’re realistically attainable. As much as setting big goals is great, when you set them too big, they won’t be obtainable and it’ll only stress you out. Make sure throughout the New Year you set small goals that you know you can work at and achieve! Whether it’s to cook every night instead of eating out, call your grandparents every Thursday night, or treat yourself to something you love after a long work week.
The old idiom “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies to resolutions. A resolution takes time. Hence why you plan, and track progress. If you ever show impatience, then you should do an activity. Exercise, take a nap, read a book, or go for a walk. If change were a quick fix, everyone would succeed with resolutions. Always remember, a resolution is not worth it if it’s not a challenge.
Don’t Give Up
You will not win every day. Some days you will eat potato chips, forget to go to the gym, or smoke a cigarette. If you do fail, do not give up! You put time and effort to make a change in your life. Do not let that time go to waste. Remember some effort is better than no effort. Figure out why you made a mistake, and learn from it. If you have a growth mindset, you will overcome the adversity of failure.
When you do make a mistake and revert to your old ways, forgive yourself. If you criticize or judge yourself, this will lead to a negative mindset. Treat yourself with compassion and understanding when you do make a mistake. If you have a hard time with forgiveness, make a list of things that make you proud of yourself. Some things can include your achievements, kind deeds, skills, and talents.
We hope you reach your success and achieve the resolution you have set for yourself.
Do you have any specific ways or disciplines to help you complete your resolution? Feel free to share your knowledge so you can help others keep their resolution.
For more information on the psychology of habits, check out the book Atomic Habits, by author James Clear.