January 1st. It’s that time of year again. You want to lose weight, get into shape, fit back into the jeans sitting in the bottom of your drawer, or maybe just eat healthier. Or perhaps you want to spend more time with your friends and family, or spend less money.
Half of all Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. But, according to statistical research at the University of Scranton, only 8% of resolution-makers achieve their goals. That’s about 156 million failed resolutions. Ouch! Why do resolutions overwhelmingly fail? After all, we have the loftiest of goals, the highest intentions. “This year, I am going to stick to it.” But, no matter how committed, the very nature of resolutions set us up for failure. In fact, I stopped making resolutions years ago because I felt so badly about failing year after year. Not one time was I able to uphold a resolution that surely was going to make my life better.
Here’s the thing: Every resolution can succeed … with a plan.
Just like we learn to write reports, proposals, business letters and research papers there’s a formula to creating resolutions that stick. Just like we become adept at technology, sports or playing an instrument, there is learning involved in making resolutions that succeed. For instance, you don’t pick up a violin and instantly know how to play. It takes baby steps, building on each mastered skill until you play your first piece all the way through. It’s the same with resolutions.
As you start to think about what you want in 2014, here are seven tips to help you make them work:
- Focus on ONE resolution, rather than several. Make it something that matters to you. Be ready to commit.
- Set SPECIFIC goals. “Managing stress” is not a specific goal. “I will meditate for 5 minutes every morning when I wake up” is a specific and realistic goal.
- Make a PLAN with baby steps. Break down your resolution down as far as you can, to the simplest task possible. Just like you make an outline for a large project, make an outline that includes steps and dates.
- Make your plan PUBLIC. That is, tell friends and family. Write it down. Your more likely to commit to a plan once you’ve put it out into the universe.
- Have an accountability BUDDY. Someone close to you to whom you share your goal and report back to weekly. Best to have a dedicated day and time. Even 10 minutes will do.
- Celebrate each SUCCESS between milestones. Have rewards in your plan along the way.
- Focus on the PRESENT. What are you committing to today. Each morning, “Today I choose to continue banning sugar from my diet.”
- Slowly and steadily you will see progress, and you will set into motion a new skill set that can be applied to all goals, not just the ones you define at New Year’s.
My Own 2014 Goals
In the spirit of making my goals public, here are my 2014 goals, one personal, one career:
- commit to getting back in shape by working out three times per week
- add one corporate client to my health coaching practice
Accountability buddy, anyone?