So you’ve set some New Year’s goals? You’re now part of a large population of resoluters who’ve decided a change is necessary. About half of all Australians make a New Year’s Resolution (“losing weight” being the most common). The unfortunate fact is that only about 8% of those people are actually successful with their goal in mind (1). Seems a little daunting right? Why do you think most of these resolutions fail? The lacking success stats shouldn’t get you down. As you’ll learn, most resolutions fail because people fail to capitalize on small, yet very important steps.
The first thing you need to be aware of is realism. Maybe after watching the latest episode of The Biggest Loser, you’ve decided that you want to drop 20kgs before winter hits. Well, no one is trying to crush your motivation, but you’ll probably need to re-think that goal. Setting goals with realistic expectations as well as achievable benchmarks is critical.
Next, take a step back from your resolution and evaluate all the things going on in life right now. Think about your current commitments to family, work and other areas to answer this question: “Is now a good time to implement change in life?” If you’re struggling with the current load or priorities, you’ll need to look into clearing some way for your upcoming efforts. Goals take daily dedication, so make sure you have available time and energy.
Alright, now if your goal is possible and your plan of achievement looks doable, then it’s time to set some resolution assurance! Earlier you were asked to think about what makes 92% of people unsuccessful with their resolutions. The reason most people fail is related to the reasons behind their resolution. There’s some psychology at play behind New Year’s resolutions and most people fail to act on it. With every goal or aspiration we have, we have important and often subconscious driving feelings behind those goals. So the key is to get in touch with what your personal reasons are. Put simply, the reasons behind why we make changes ultimately determine if we are successful or not.
So to get in touch with the deep motivations behind your resolution, here are a couple of things to think about or write down:
- Imagine that you’ve already completed your resolution. Ask yourself, how would your life be improved? What are the biggest differences between a life with your goal completed and your goal not completed?
- Also, think about your current mission in life. Maybe you’re in school, are a dedicated parent or a hard working professional. Does progress towards your New Year’s goal also equate to progress in other areas of life? How might working towards success interfere or support your current missions?
Use these questions to have a deep one on one consult with yourself. Talk aloud to yourself if needed or write down your thoughts. The more in touch you can get with these inner motivations, the more likely you’ll be successful with your resolution.
Now that you’re invested in your motivation and know how success will change the inner workings of your life, you’re ready to take some steps forward. Firstly, make your resolution known. In detail, tell your close friends or family what you’re working towards and ask for their help. Social support is extremely vital! One thing you can do is request someone to periodically ask about your progress to get some accountability. Bottomline, make it more important than just a Facebook status update and get invested in some help.
This last consideration is important. You’ve thought about the goal, made sure it’s realistic, delved into why it’s meaningful in your life, now… be ready to be surprised. You’ll need to be ready to accept both successes AND failures. It’s just a part of life that we end up learning new things about ourselves. Sometimes, we realize that our goal wasn’t right for life’s current situation and that there’s a slightly better aspiration to work towards. Be open to this possibility and welcome the things you learn along the way in your striving. The point of all New Year’s resolutions is a slightly new you. A new you that has a clearer idea of where you’re going in life and what’s really important to you. So be ready. Get set in your deep motivations and don’t give up when things get tough.
- “New Years Resolution Statistics.”Statistic Brain RSS. Journal of Clinical Psychology, n.d. Web. 13