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resolutions

New Year’s Resolution – The Trick to Meeting Them

Yep, it’s that time of year again.  As soon as we make the leap over the holiday season in a couple weeks, out will come the new year’s resolution.  “It’s a new year and it’s going to be a new me!”“This is the year I am finally going to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking, make more money…”

Not to throw a wet towel on the excitement, but the reality is that only about 8% of people ever accomplish their new year’s resolution.  And, most don’t even stay committed to their resolution after the first 30 days into the new year.  At this point you might be thinking, “I’m going to be one of those 8%,” but you’re really not clear on HOW you will be part of that elite group.  Or, you’re totally discouraged because of your past new year’s resolution failures and so you aren’t going to bother making one. 

Before you charge ahead or give up, read on and I’ll give you 3 tricks of the trade for achieving your resolution.  And yes, you NEED to write things down in whatever medium you prefer.

First things first. What’s your resolution?  Have that in mind.

Trick # 1: Answer the Question, “Why Is This Your Resolution?”

This is trick of the trade #1 for a reason. It’s the first and most critical thing to ask and answer for yourself.  Too often we make a resolution because it’s the thing to do.  Everyone around you is making them. Gyms drop their membership and/or initiation prices.  You are inundated with sales on dieting programs and all sorts of other things.  But, if your why is just the thing to do and it isn’t important enough to you, you will fail! 

Let’s look at one of the most popular new year’s resolutions, to lose weight.  You may want to lose weight, but why?  Ask yourself “why” at least 3 times, each with a different answer.  Dig deeper than “it’s healthier.”  For example, “I want to lose weight.” 1) Why? “I want to look great in my clothes.” 2) Why? “I think people would take me more seriously at work.”  3) Why? “I’d have more confidence in myself.”  Now you see that it isn’t about just looking good, it’s about being a person that is confident.  What could this confidence in yourself bring?  A promotion, motivation to begin a new career, a happier marriage, meeting someone…?

Trust me, if you can’t come up with a bottom line answer that makes you feel good, then it will be an uphill battle to accomplish your new year’s resolution.

Trick # 2: Ditch Your Resolution! Have A Goal Instead.

This may sound like the same thing, but they are vastly different.  A resolution means you resolve to do such and such.  “I resolve to lose weight this year.”  Great!  Now what?  How are you going to do it?  Exactly when are you going to do it?  Resolutions are vague while goals have specificity.  A goal gives you direction, a sort of roadmap to follow.  Using the “I want to lose weight” example, your goal must be:

Specific…specifically how much weight do you want to lose?

Measurable…easy enough with a scale

Actionable…what are you going to do (i.e. exercise x days/week; cut xx calories/day)?

Realistic…are you giving yourself enough time to achieve it? (Realistic weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.)

Timely…when do you want to lose the weight by?

If you really want to increase your chances of success, think in quarters of the year instead of a whole year at once.  Start your new year by creating a much smaller “New Quarter Goal” rather than a year goal.  This will seem easier to achieve  and give you confidence.  And you can make quicker changes if something isn’t working.  Once one quarter has ended you’ll make a new goal for the next quarter based upon your progress to date. 

What if by doing it this way, you ended up losing 15 pounds by the end of the year instead of the 20 pounds you really wanted?  You’d still feel really good!  You will have made fantastic progress and be confident you could keep the weight you lost off.

Trick #3: Schedule Time to Spend on Meeting Your Goal

Bottom line, if you are really serious about meeting your goal, you need to know what you are going to do and when you are going to work on it.  Each Sunday, look at your calendar and plan out your week.  For example, if weight loss is your goal, you need to block out times you will exercise that week.  This simple action works for anything you want to accomplish, whether it’s the one thing you have to get done that week or you want to spend uninterrupted time with your family or friends. 

So, be in that 8% of people that accomplish their new year’s resolution!  Just remember…

  • Know why the resolution is important to you,
  • Turn your resolution into a goal and start the new year by creating a much smaller “New Quarter Goal” to increase your chances of success, and
  • Set aside time to work towards your goal.