How To Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick
by Garen Jemian
New Year's Resolutions have gained quite the bad wrap over the years and rightfully so. Everyone comes rushing out of the gates most often wanting a healthier lifestyle or increased financial gains and yet, statistically speaking, I'm not so sure the success rate is where it should be considering the amount of will power that's put into the annual ritual. In fact, according to Forbes, it's a mere 8%. So if the success rate of New Year's Resolutions are so ridiculously low, why do we keep making them or more importantly, how can we increase our chances of success?
As a life coach, it is my opinion that humans naturally want to evolve and achieve personal growth. Whatever the case may be, a decision to move in a new positive direction on the 1st of January
is a great start but far from what is required to achieve any specific goal.
New Year's resolutions, like any other goals, need to be properly set, planned, emotionally charged and supported in order to be achieved. Accepting that success is a long-term commitment is the first step in the right direction.
Here are a few tips that might help you create and achieve your goals this year:
The first step in any successful change process is setting goals that are realistic. The acronym S.M.A.R.T., as some of you may already know, represents the traits of such goals to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound and none can argue that they all carry heavy weight in the game of achieving personal and professional success. However, the "attainable" a.k.a the "realistic" segment is the one I find to be the culprit for failure more often than I'd like to admit. Being realistic isn't about selling yourself short. It's about being honest, knowing thyself and setting goals that stretch your limits without breaking them. This year, give yourself a fighting chance and set yourself up for success by choosing a goal that is within reach and within your current limitations. In time, you will find that you will be able to grow far beyond your expectations, one step at a time.
Think Like A Marathon Runner
Rome wasn't built in a day and the path to personal growth is no different. To have a great year, you must start by having a great day. Multiply that by 365 and you'll have yourself a great year. Trying to bite off more than you can chew is a fantastic way to get demotivated and fall into the 92% category of failed resolutions. Try to look at your goals as a marathon and break them down accordingly.
Prior to running 42k, especially if you have no prior training, it's probably best to start by walking the 1k. Over time, the body and the mind get used to the routine, the muscles build memory, the heart and lungs get used to the new rhythm, the mind learns to overcome the mental hurdles and eventually, the 1k walker becomes the marathon runner. This is how most great accomplishments are achieved.
The key is to push yourself with just the right amount of force. Too little and you aren't challenged enough. Too hard and you'll stumble before the race begins leaving you discouraged and potentially abandoning the greater goal.
Once you set your goals for this year, be sure to break them down into baby steps you can easily commit to daily or weekly. Eventually, those little efforts will add up to the big picture you had your eyes on.
Shift from "Getting" to "Doing" to "Being"
Success can come in many shapes and sizes depending on what you are focusing on. It may come in terms of tangible gains (getting), personal accomplishments (doing) or as internal growth (being).
As you shift your focus inward from getting to doing to being, you not only increase the likelihood of achieving your goals but you also increase the overall fulfillment level of your life. The higher your state of being, the less likely you are to need things to feel good about yourself and the more in tune you will be with your personal accomplishments as they will come more easily with your new and improved inner powers.
Which category does your resolution fall into and what deep desire does it fulfill?
This year, try something new and set your eyes on being more patient, daring, compassionate, mindful, easy-going or proactive just to name a few. Pick whichever traits you feel you need to work on. Start with one or two and focus your following days, weeks and year on becoming that person.
Finding Meaning Behind the Goal
Before any great success story can unfold, there must always come purpose. One builds a house for shelter, one learns a language for communication, one unites a people for peace and community. What is your reason for wanting to achieve your goals? Potentially the most important question you'll carry around your back pocket is the following: WHY?
This one simple question is the key to not only clarifying your purpose but to finding out what truly motivates you in your quest to achieving this goal. The more you explore your purpose, the more emotionally charged your quest will be and this solidifies your determination. You may even find that your purpose and the goal you had set aren't properly aligned and this gives you the opportunity to modify the goal so that it connects directly with what it is that you are truly after. It is always better to spend a little time in this exploration phase and potentially rewrite your mission a few times over than to try many different things with failed attempts causing symptoms of discouragement and frustration. And so, what is so deeply meaningful about your resolution this year and does it connect to your deepest emotional roots?
Resolutions, if nothing else, are a great reminder that we all have some growing to do. An annual greeting card with a message of self-improvement filled with the hope that one day we will become the person we always dreamed of becoming. As this new year gets on its way, let's move forward knowing that we are all perfect in our imperfections and when the mind is ready, everything else will follow.