Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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Can you remember what your New Year’s resolution was from last year? Did you make a resolution at all? How many times have you made and remade the same resolutions? How can you make this year different?

Less than half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year. Some people make the argument that resolutions are superficial and silly, as if making a goal at some other time of year is more profound for some reason. The non-conformist in us all says, “make a goal some other time, don’t be like everyone else!” The problem is that there is an even smaller portion of the population that set goals at times other than the New Year. It’s true that resolutions and goals can be made at any time of year but I’ve found that the New Year is a nice, neat time for setting goals that acts as a natural marker for measuring progress.

Of the 45% of American’s that make New Year’s resolutions, a frighteningly small percentage actually achieve their resolutions. I never would have guessed that only an estimated 8% actually reach their new year’s resolutions. Of the 45% that set resolutions, 25% don’t make it past the first week. (Statistic Brain) So why do so many struggle with reaching our goals? Here are a few reasons…

  • Too vague: The goals aren’t specific enough. It’s hard to get somewhere when we don’t know where it is or what it looks like.
  • Too Big: The goals are unrealistic and complicated. I’m all about big goals but they have to be broken down into bite size, digestible pieces.
  • Too secretive: We don’t tell anyone. We want it to be a surprise or we just don’t want people to know if we fail or maybe we’re just embarrassed.
  • Too outside of your control: We set a resolution to change something that is not ours to change. These kinds of goals are not productive and can be discouraging.
  • Too emotional: We rely too much on the emotion of the inspired, enlightened state we are in when we make the goal instead of realizing the emotion will be very different when it comes time to work.
  • Too dang lazy: Goals and working on goals are hard and sometimes we don’t like that very much. It’s easy to slip back into negative habits and do what comes naturally rather than what is most beneficial.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Each one of us reading this can join the 8% of people who make and fulfill their new year’s resolutions this year. Don’t give up. Believe that it can and will be done!

It starts with a firm decision, with a resolution, and that can happen right now. Resolution is not something that happens in the future, it is something that happens in the present and continues from moment to moment. These moments create our future.

What if I could give a promise that you would reach your new year’s resolution by doing just a few simple things, would you do it? We love guarantees. Well, I’ll give you a full money back guarantee if you do the following things and it doesn’t work. The great thing is that it won’t cost you anything up front for the information. It will only cost you what you are willing to pay for the benefit of reaching your goals. Think of what you stand to gain.

Make your new year’s resolutions stick with these 7 steps

1. Be aware but not preoccupied with the past:

To make a resolution we have to be made aware of something that needs to change. Do a personal inventory of some of the things you know you need to change but have struggled to alter in your life. It may be something in your parenting or relationships or maybe just a personal habit. Write them down and identify one or two and focus on those. Think about what contributes to those habits. Identify past learning, examples, triggers, etc. that may contribute to the old habit and your efforts to transform it.

2. Know your “why:”

Understand consciously and completely what your motivation is. Create a mission statement or mantra that is simple to remember and carries the meaning and importance of why you are seeking to change or improve something in your life.

3. Write it down:

Learn how to set good, SMART goals and then make a formal record of them. Not all goals are created equal. There is both and art and a science to effective goal setting and completion. SMART is an acronym for setting effective goals. It stands for…

· Specific

· Measurable

· Attainable

· Realistic/Relevant

· Time sensitive

4. Be accountable:

Tell someone. Don’t worry right now about falling off the wagon or what others might think of your goals and resolutions, just tell them and ask them to check in with you about your goals. Let them know your time frame and give them a report from time to time. There are some great apps for this, social media is great or you can do it the old fashion way and tell your spouse or a friend.

5. Track and adjust intensity and progress:

Set a time daily or at least weekly to review your goal and to be personally accountable for your actions toward that goal. There are two major reasons for this: First, to track progress, to recognize small growth as it happens. Second, to make adjustments to our daily routines and actions to improve our results over time.

6. Today is what matters:

Take a step today no matter what happened yesterday. This is where I find that most people struggle. We often think that if we miss a day, it’s all over. We catastrophize the impact of a day that has passed us by and minimize the impact that our actions have right now. Weight loss, better relationships, financial security and any other achievement we may reach for are made up of countless tiny choices and movements. Just because I made a bad choice yesterday does not destroy my resolution. It simply proves you are human. Get back up! Do it again, no matter what!

7. Celebrate and repeat the process:

I love to celebrate! I am more sentimental than my wife and will try to find any excuse to celebrate the special moments in our lives. Just like everything else in our lives, goal setting and fulfillment happens in cycles. The cycle of resolutions does not end, but rather take us to a new plain to simply start again. Remember to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement and the moments of victory and then dive back in to something else.

Continue to increase the level of skill, fitness, understanding or whatever it is. The thing that was previously difficult will become commonplace and you will have a new challenge and mountain to climb. Never stop and certainly make sure you start!

Question: What is one of your new year’s resolutions?

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