As one year comes to an end and another begins, we naturally start thinking about what we want to change or improve in our lives. Tradition has it that we set ourselves resolutions, a host of things we plan to either start or stop doing, or do more of – losing weight, getting fit, saving money, quitting smoking, cutting back on our chocolate or booze consumption.
How many times have you begun the New Year with a bunch of resolutions? And how would you rate your success at maintaining them even to the end of January?
You are not alone; sadly about 88% of us fail to keep to our New Year Resolutions.
Don’t be discouraged though; there are some good reasons why resolutions don’t work:
- Will power is not a character trait, it is more like a muscle. We need to develop it over time through repetitive use and gradually increase the challenges we set it. So starting a year with several resolutions is bit like trying to lift your own body weight without building up that strength gradually – it’s doomed to failure.
- Setting ourselves abstract goals without specific actions or behaviours make it very difficult for our brains to focus on what actually to do.
- We tend to set resolutions in the negative – I won’t eat chocolate, or I’ll stop smoking, and our brains do not understand negatives, which effectively means we are saying to ourselves ‘eat chocolate’ and ‘smoke’.
- Often we choose to take on areas of life which we feel we ‘ought’ to sort out, but we aren’t necessarily ready to make the changes required.
There are some simple ways of increasing your chances of success:
- Make your goals realistic – under promising and over delivering is far more motivating than the opposite. The more we begin to achieve the more likely we are to continue.
- Set yourself milestones along the way so you are working towards a closer, smaller goal and acknowledge and reward yourself for reaching them.
- Break each milestone goal down into small steps with some specific actions to follow.
- Build in time for those actions – put it in your diary, write them down, create a habit around them.
- Hold yourself accountable by sharing your goals with people.
- Find ways to make it fun, not a chore.
This New Year resolve to set yourself some clear, realistic goals which are congruent with your current priorities. If you want support to set goals and keep you on track to reach them, contact us for a free 20 minute consultation on 01234 342919.