Sadly, statistics show that 95% of the people who made new year’s resolutions for themselves have already broken them by January 15th. And these are just the people who MADE some resolutions!
I LOVE to make new year’s resolutions. I don’t know why but I really like the feeling of a fresh start at the beginning of a new year! It is the perfect time to create a new action plan for yourself and set some new goals, so that you can work towards them and make them happen!I want to give you a little guideline on how to make your new year’s resolutions stick and help you to make effective and long-term change in your life!
Read these hints on how to create some new habits for yourself and make this year even better than the year before!
1. Write down your resolutions.
You have to write that stuff down. This is pretty simple but also very key. It is even better to put it somewhere where you can see it everyday. There will come more hectic times again this year and you might become sloppy and forget about your new resolutions. By writing them down and reviewing them regularly you allow yourself to review your own goals for this year and refresh the euphoric feelings you had when you were deciding to make them come true!
- Write down all your new year resolutions.
- Don’t hold back on your goals, write down everything you want even if you think it is unrealistic or crazy.
- Put at least 1 SUPER-CRAZY resolution on the list. Something you would not even dream about becoming reality, but if it does, it would totally bring your life to a whole new level!
2. Re-write them in way that supports you.
Here is a short list of very common new year’s resolutions, maybe you find some of yours here too:
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Drink Less
Although these are very noble goals, they are very vague and you are committed to fail when you put these on your list.
Let me explain how you can transform them into something that actually supports you in endeavour.
Take “Lose Weight and Get Fit” for example. Very vague, not precise at all. It cannot be measured! You don’t know if you have achieved it or not, which is a deal-breaker because you also have no idea if you are on track or not. And this is the main reason why people drop their habits and won’t stick to the resolutions anymore.
Instead of “Lose Weight” put something like “Cultivate a daily 30 minute workout habit for yourself to feel stronger, more healthier and fit!” on the list.
This will benefit you in many ways:
- It clearly points out what you have to do (workout every day for at least 30 minutes)
- It is easily measurable and therefore it is much easier for you to stay on track and stick to it (you have either worked out today or not, you are either on track or not).
- It will put the focus on the action and off the result (you are not irritated by the fact that you are not yet fit, but you focus all your energy on actually doing the daily exercise. You know that this continuous effort will lead to your desired results, but you do not beat yourself up because there are not there yet! You trust in the process! And you have this happy feeling of you knowing that you have done everything that it takes in order to achieve it very soon).
- It clearly states what you will feel like when you are sticking to it. You know why you are doing it and what the desired outcome is for yourself. This helps you to stay focused and motivated throughout the year.
- Read more about this topic here: Focusing On Outcome VS Focusing On Output
- Go over your list and check for yourself if the resolutions are put in a way that supports you the most!
3. Find your motives about these resolutions.
A lot of people start with a super-duper fine list of noble resolutions and then fail to stick to them because they are not committed to the process. They do not play the game with the bigger picture in mind. And they also don’t understand that it takes more than good will to achieve something great. To make your resolutions stick you have to make one tiny step towards this goal each day in the following year! And in order to push you to doing so, you must have a clear vision and REASON behind your actions!
- Why do I REALLY want to do this?
- How will I feel once I made this happen for myself?
- Am I willing to make the sacrifices it takes?
- How would achieving this goal improve my life in the long run?
4. Remove the obstacles.
It is not enough just making new year’s resolutions and hoping for the best. Hope is never a good option! =) You have to create the right circumstances and opportunities yourself. And in order to make a resolution stick you have to put in the effort to achieve your goal everyday AND also remove all the obstacles that are holding you back! I would also say that removing the obstacles is even more important than making the effort itself. I believe that our default state is one of being extremely passionate and that mind-made obstacles and limiting beliefs hold us back. Once you remove all that chains that are holding you back, you will be surprised how far and how fast you can go!
- Go through your list again and find all possible obstacles that could pop up for achieving each of these resolutions.
- Ask yourself if you are willing to overcome these obstacles in order to make your resolution come true?
- (If you are not willing to overcome these obstacles and roadblocks, you might want to go back one step and ask yourself why you have put them on the list in the first place?!)
5. Tell everyone.
You need support. You need it from yourself and you need it from others. So you better tell everybody around you what you are trying to achieve. Don’t make a secret out of it. You will be surprised how many people will support you!
- Tell your best friend about your new year’s resolutions.
- Tell somebody who would totally laugh at you if you would not accomplish your goals and who would be SO happy if he could see you fail! =)
- (The last one is super effective in getting you motivated to prove other people wrong! Or maybe this is just me?)
6. Commit to your resolutions and go all in.
A lot of people tell you that in order to make changes in your life you have to start small and don’t beat yourself up. I don’t believe that!
When you want something to be different, be different. Go all in right from the start. If you want to stop smoking, don’t just cut back, stop it right from day one. If you want to go in shape, don’t just say you want to cut back on chocolate and sugar. Just drop that unhealthy stuff all together right from day one!
The trick here is, that if you KNOW why you are doing this and you have a clear vision about yourself in mind, you don’t even WANT to do the old behaviour anymore. If you have made a real DECISION for yourself, there is nothing left to discuss. A lot of people want a lot, but they are not willing to make the sacrifices. They do not know the difference between a MUST and a SHOULD!
If you have troubles with that topic, read more about it here: Must And Should: The Little Difference
- Think about how you feel when I tell you that you should drop the bad habits that hold you back from achieving your resolutions!
- How do you feel about that?
- Would you be willing to do that?
- (If you are not, again, go back and find some REAL reasons for you doing all this! It seems like you haven’t found a good enough reason yet!)
7. Get real.
Realize that New Year’s day is just another day and that making resolutions on this day is no different from making a resolution on any other day. There is a big hype about the new year and this fresh start it gives you. I am definitely one of the people really loving this idea! Still, you have to make yourself conscious about the fact that it just another day. The sooner you understand that it is in fact not very different from any other one, you realize that making a commitment to something requires your daily portion of your willpower! You need to work on your goals and resolutions EVERY day!
- Ask yourself: Are you willing to work on achieving these goals everyday?
8. Track your progress.
This is the single most important step you have to take in order to get long-term results in your life. Track every little improvement and step towards your goals and resolutions. Track it or you will fall off because you see not change for a too long time.
It says that in order to make a new habit stick it takes around 21 days to condition your brain. These 21 days can be a long time and if you don’t measure your progress along the way, it is VERY easy to fall of your path and go back to your old (already conditioned) routines and habits. Therefore you have to track all the steps you take towards making your new year’s resolutions come true!
- Go through your list and think about how you could measure progress for each of these resolutions.
- Measure your success by watching your commitment and not your results (for example: “Did I workout for 30 minutes today like I promised myself I would do?” VS. “Did I loose the 10 pounds already?”). The first “measurement question” will MOTIVATE you to keep going because you have put in the effort and you will realize that you are on track of your goal. The second one drags you down because you might not have lost the weight already and you feel disappointed an tempted to stop working out all together!
9. Balance your life.
Everybody focuses so much on getting ahead in life! You also have to bring some balance to your life! Of course you can put a lot of work related and business goals on your list. But you also have to put some “fun time” resolutions on that list too.
Here is a short and very helpful article from Sir Richard Branson about the idea of juggling your life!
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.” – Brian Dyson
- Put some happy time goals onto your list!
- Start the year at your best! NOW, do whatever makes you happy! =)
I wish you an awesome year 2014!