Happy New Year! This is the time when many people like to start over and try to change their behaviors for the better. Unfortunately the majority who attempt fail and the rest don’t even make the effort.
As much as 92% of people fail to achieve their New Years resolutions according to one study from The University of Scranton. The most common New Year resolutions based on a recent Harris poll are
- Eat healthier (33% vs. 23%);
- Save more money (29% vs. 21%);
- Lose weight (29% vs. 18%);
- Pay down debt (19% vs. 14%);
- Become more organized (17% vs. 12%); and,
- Read more (16% vs. 12%).
(male vs female)
Another recent study published by the Statista research department in January 2019 on Americans New Year’s resolutions for 2019 showed 54% wanted to eat healthier, 59% wanted to exercise more, 51% of respondents said their resolution for 2019 is to save money, while 48% would like to lose weight.
New Year’s resolution of Americans for 2019
Even with good intentions and initial enthusiasm the majority of people fall off the wagon by the second week in February. Reasons or excuses for not following through and completing their resolutions are due to a number of factors such as losing motivation, becoming overwhelmed after setting too many goals in a short space of time, not being accountable, not seeing results quick enough, lack of time, setting unrealistic goals, being discouraged by small failures, too restrictive, no budget or plan of action.
According to a 2009 study from the University College London in the European journal of Social Psychology on how habits are formed they found that on average it can take over 2 months (66 days) before a behavior becomes automatic. In this study it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit depending on the type of habit, the persons behavior and circumstances. Not 21 days that was previously believed and still touted as fact. This idea was based on a misquote from a bestselling book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maltz where he said it takes a minimum of about 21 days to form a new habit. People forgot the “minimum” part and started saying it takes 21 days to form a new habit and it stuck!
So what are the other 8% doing that makes them successful? The aim of this blog post is to find out.
Set Smart goals. Come up with a detailed plan of action with small steps to move you closer to achieving your outcome.
Specific. Don’t just say. I want to lose weight. Say exactly how much weight in lbs and what steps you need to take to accomplish your goal
Measurable. How will you measure your success or failure.
Attainable. It has to be realistic. It should stretch you and get you out your comfort zone but still be achievable and within your capabilities
Relevant. Does it align with your values and long term goals? Is the plan of action relevant to your outcome?
Time-frame. Put a date on it. Give yourself a deadline to complete the goal
Share your goals and plan with someone you trust or hire a life/health coach to support and stretch you and hold you accountable to what you said you would do and ensure you complete your action steps
Focus on the positive
and on what you get to have. Not on what you don’t get to have. This is why diets don’t work because people are focusing on deprivation and not being able to eat their favorite foods which only makes them crave it more. Instead try focusing on all the delicious healthy nutritious food you can eat and how this is going to improve your health and energy levels. It’s usually helpful to re frame your negative thoughts and beliefs and focus on the positive aspects of changing your behavior. What are all the benefits to accomplishing this goal. Why is this goal important to you? How will it change your life for the better? What will you be able to do that you can’t do now? Who can you be once you’ve accomplished this goal?
Believe in Yourself.
Stay strong with your willpower and discipline and keep believing that you can do it. This will increase your chances of achieving your goal and prevent you from being discouraged. The inner game is just as important as the outer game.
Keep A Journal.
According to one study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, researchers found that participants who wrote their workout plan in writing were roughly three times more likely to stick to the plan than those who did not. I encourage you to write everything down including your smart goals, accomplishments, failures, values, intentions, daily habits and challenges.
When you switch tasks throughout the day it takes our brains about 20 minutes to refocus on the new task therefore put everything in your calendar and group similar activities together to increase productivity and efficiency. This way you will know exactly what you are doing each day to accomplish your goals.
Incorporate a healthy morning routine.
Get out of bed an hour earlier than usual to plan out your day. Spend 5 minutes planning out your day then another 5 planning out your future. Spend another 5 minutes practicing gratitude and remind yourself of all the things you’re grateful for. It’s hard to be depressed when you practice gratitude. Practice meditation for 5 minutes. Incorporate deep breathing techniques such as the 5-5-7 breath. Move your body for at least 20 minutes. Do what you enjoy. Read for 20 minutes. Preferably a book on personal development or whatever you enjoy reading. Don’t forget to journal and write down your thoughts.
To ensure success and increase the likelihood of achieving your goals this year it’s important to figure out your reason for creating the goal in the first place. Why is it important to you? Are you doing it for yourself or someone else? You want to ensure you’re not doing it for the wrong reasons or because other people think you should do it. You need to make sure you really want to do it and that it’s for the right reasons. Celebrate the small wins as you get closer to your goal and not to get discouraged when you face a set back. Buy a good organizer/calendar/journal to help you stay organized and focused. This will provide clarity and help you avoid confusion when you know exactly what you should be doing each day.
Share your smart goals with someone to hold you accountable. Stay positive and keep moving forward each day to increase your chances of success. Incorporate a healthy morning routine to practice gratitude, plan your day and move your body. Avoid overwhelm by creating realistic smart goals and focus on one at a time within a realistic time frame. Stop trying to do all the things! Model the habits of highly successful people and with consistency you will inevitably become successful.
Have you ever created New Year resolutions for yourself? Did you accomplish them? If you did then please share what you did in the comments below. If you didn’t then this blog post should help you. If you’re looking for extra support and accountability you can share your goals for 2020 in the comments below and I’ll be your accountability buddy.