We’re now almost two weeks into 2019. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?
You may have seen the surveys that indicate that about half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but the majority give up on them before the end of January, and less than ten percent of people actually succeed! But you don’t have to resign yourself to this fate. Here are 4 specific science-backed strategies for how you can revisit your resolutions or goals for the year and make the changes that you want actually happen:
1. What is Most Important to You? Revisit your list of resolutions and identify which one is the most important to you now. Think about what makes that change so important in your life today. For example, how would you feel if you made that change, or what would that change make possible? You might even want to think about it numerically: On a scale of 1 – 10, how important is this change? Be honest with yourself. If it is anything less than a 7, you may lack the motivation to do the hard work needed to reach your goal. But if change is very important, that explicit recognition will help you maintain the needed effort, especially when the going gets tough.
2. What is Realistic? It is human nature to become frustrated when we don’t meet our goals, which can be demoralizing. If you really want to stick to your New Year’s resolution, try defining it in a way that is realistic — physically, logistically and emotionally. For example, it’s unrealistic to find your dream job in three weeks or to lose 20 pounds in a month. It also helps to be specific; the more specific you are, the easier it is to prepare for successful action, track your progress, and hold yourself accountable.
3. What is One Small Step to Get Started? Getting started can often be the hardest part, and research shows that great change is often accomplished by starting small. So plan for success by identifying just one small step that you can do to get started. For example, it might be signing up for a gym membership, blocking out time to do meal planning, or updating your resume. Focusing on one small step will help you get started, and, success with one step, will build confidence, positive momentum, and encouragement for you to take the next small step.
4. Identify Barriers and Create Back-Up Plans: Identify what obstacles might get in the way of following through on the small step you identified and develop specific back up plans to overcome those obstacles. Research has demonstrated that people who identify potential barriers and create a Plan B are more likely to accomplish their goals. In preparing for successful action, reflect on past successes in other areas of your life and what helped you succeed, and apply your strengths to the change you wish to make today.
I hope you remain inspired to make 2019 your best year ever!
Director, Thrivewell Coaching