“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” – Mark Twain
If you make New Year’s resolutions, you might find it disheartening to hear the media’s almost gleeful reports of how most resolutions (some studies say 92%) are doomed to fail. Well, fear not! I have a ray of hope for you and your freshly minted resolutions…
A study by the University of Scranton found that people who make specific New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Woot, woot!
So, now that we know resolutions aren’t an exercise in futility, let’s get to the work of fortifying those suckers!
Here are 6 simple, but highly effective follow-through tricks to make your resolutions stick past the two-week mark…
1. Make your resolutions specific and measurable. It’s all well and good to make a resolution to be a better person this year, but what are the specific, quantifiable habits you’re going to put in place to accomplish this? For example, are you going to meditate 10 minutes a day? Volunteer once a week? Stop gossiping at family functions? Your resolutions need to be easily measured as opposed to general ones you can squirm your way out of. So, don’t just say your going back to the gym, make a resolution to go to the gym 3 times a week for 45 minutes minimum.
2. Adjust your resolutions to actually be achievable – Researchers say the most common reason for participants failing with their New Year’s resolutions is setting unrealistic goals. So, if you made a resolution to lose 30 pounds in one month, back the truck UP! Setting the more doable goal of losing 2 pounds per week, for example, may be less sexy, but it will create the very important MOMENTUM to stay on-track with your weight-loss resolution. That momentum might even inspire you to naturally do more with your goals. Whereas, setting the bar too high can make you feel like a big ol’ loser by the second week in.
3. Resolution Reminders. Get this… 23% of folks fail at their New Year’s resolutions because they forget about it (oh dear). So, write your resolutions and their specific action steps down in your journal, hang up reminder signs in your environments, use one of the many goal/resolution apps out there, and put anything that needs scheduling into your day-timer… I always say: If it doesn’t make it into your calendar, it won’t make it into your life.
4. Practice the “buddy system”. Find a friend who is also setting goals for the New Year to be your resolution buddy. Declare your resolutions to each other and commit to doing regular check-ins (ie. daily via email, once a week over tea) at least for this first month. Having someone other than yourself to be accountable to makes your chances of success much higher, plus it gives you somebody to celebrate with…or complain to.
5. Celebrate the little victories! You need to celebrate the journey as well as the destination to keep your momentum going. So, when you get through your first week of decreasing your negative self-talk, reward yourself with a nice bottle of cabernet. After your first day of pain and suffering at the gym, take a decadent nap. NOTE: don’t choose rewards that are counter-productive to your resolutions…. If losing weight is your resolution, double fudge cupcakes are not an appropriate reward. ; )
Now, go get ‘em, Tiger!!