'New Year, New Me' - How To Make Your Resolution Stick
Why does the change of one digit signify a catalyst to change your life?
It's the thought of starting fresh. A new year to become the person you wish to be.
A resolution is a promise to yourself to be better.
In every one of us, there's a gap between where we are now and where we want to be. Everyone has dreams and aspirations. A resolution provides the hope that maybe this year is the year in which we bridge the gap.
Alas, most of us fail.
In fact, 90% of us won't even make it to February.
Surely there's a way to make them stick?
Resolutions can be powerful if set correctly. Working through long-term goals and the reasons behind them. Breaking down the big picture into smaller achievable chunks. There are a few tricks to ensure that by the end of next year you're not in exactly the same position you are now.
Done right, a resolution can be much more than the fleeting thought of hope as the fireworks explode overhead.
Here are a few ways you can make them stick.
1. Have a meaningful goal
A resolution which resonates deeply within you is much likely to be successful.
In short, be extremely honest with yourself.
If the goal is to lose weight, which is the most common of all resolutions, ask yourself why.
Why do you want this resolution to happen? What does it mean to you?
What are you prepared to do to make it happen? Be honest...
How will you feel if this time next year, you failed?
Create emotion behind the resolution.
If saving money is the goal, how can you create emotion behind that? Is it the proud feeling of being able to buy your own home? Could it be the comfort of being able to retire stress free?
A surface level goal means nothing. It's not going to get you out of the bed in the morning and it won't help you to break old habits.
A goal which has honest meaning and causes shivers within your core when you think of it? That's something you'll stick to.
2. Make specific action steps
It's great to be able to see the finish line, but if you can't see where your feet are going, you're bound to stumble.
Make your efforts focus on activity rather than results. Break down the resolution into the specific actions steps which must happen to bring it into realisation.
Weight loss goal? Rather than focus on a specific scale weight, break your goals into the process of weight loss.
It will require exercise. Your action step could be exercise four times each week for an hour.
It will require nutrition. Your action step could be to bulk cook healthy meals every Sunday.
You can break down any resolution into the action steps it will take to achieve it. Make those your focus. Nail the process and the results will follow naturally.
3. Celebrate your wins
You need to take the time to pat yourself on the back for smashing all those action steps.
Set milestones within the process and, as you achieve them, reward yourself appropriately. Appropriately meaning 'nothing counterproductive to your resolution'. If you wanted to cut down on drinking, rewarding yourself with a 3-day bender won't help.
Better rewards are things like:
A new pair of shoes.
A massage or day spa treatment.
That leather jacket you've been eyeing for ages.
This reward system will consistently encourage you to keep going. The next reward is always just around the corner.
4. Think long term
In today's society, we expect results fast. Like... instant fast.
It's hard to accept most of the resolutions we choose will take some time to achieve.
Take on the mindset of playing the long game. Creating meaning behind your resolution and breaking it down into action steps will help with that mindset shift.
Progress is never a straight line, there will be ups and downs. It's up to you to ride those waves and stay consistent in the resolution you choose.
It takes time to make a significant change. Tough it out.
5. Enlist a task master
My willpower is limited. I'm guessing yours is too. There comes a point where the motivation and willingness to keep going runs out. At that point, it's game on.
Having someone or something holding you accountable can keep you on track, even when you don't want it to.
A human task master can be in the form of a friend, partner or hired coach. Tell them what you want to do and ask them to be on your ass about it. No going easy.
The best non-human task master is money. Put cash on the line for you to achieve your resolution. It's a great motivator. There are even sites where you can place a reverse bet (a bet in which if you fail your money goes to a charity you despise).
Outsourcing your motivation is a massive boost to the stickability of your resolution.
You are the difference.
Resolutions can be funny. If you want to make a change in your life, why does it need to happen at a specific time of the year?
Action is the driver of all change. In that regard, if a New Years resolution provides the push you need to take action, I'm all for it.
In the end, though, it comes down to you.
This year, do your resolution right. Make it meaningful, break it down, celebrate progress and tough it out. It will stick.
Now, picture the resolution you were thinking of the whole time you read this article.
Imagine sitting where you are right now, in exactly one year, and you had achieved it. You stuck it out and made a meaningful change in your life. You succeeded. How good is that feeling?
Chase that feeling. Take action. Go.