Why is it that so many people around the world set the resolutions at the start of every new year but only a few follow through on them by the end of it – in fact the stats show that barely 5% really stick to their New Year resolutions:
If you had little success with your New Year resolutions so far, why don’t you decide to approach it differently this year and make a success of your New Year resolutions.
In this article I will dissect the myth New Year resolutions and will share with you what has worked for me and what I think would work for you if you are committed and persistent.
Why do people set New Year resolutions?
It’s because the new year embodies this idea a fresh start with fresh energy and people get excited about it. They suddenly feel confident to pursue what they want, and they feel a strong need to share it with people. That is why you see people posting inspiring and powerful messages all over social media about what they want to achieve in the year ahead and getting so much engagement from other people.
To understand this sudden burst of energy, you need to understand what is beneath it…a deep desire for change that every human being has inside of himself.
Why do they not follow through?
So why it is that by the end of the year, only a few really stick to the resolutions and create lasting changes in their lives.
The answer is very simple, it is because majority of people only like the excitement, and the stimuli of the New Year resolutions, but they do not like the pain that comes with it, and they are not fully committed to surpass the pain and get what they want.
Why are people not committed?
Because their desire only last so long that when the excitement phase passes, the painful phase takes place, and most people give up at this point, because it is too painful to pay the price for the new resolutions.
To the contrary, those who actually make it are the ones who were able to take persistent action despite the pain.
So how do we make a desire last long enough to give us the courage to change.
The short answer is to have a powerful vision.
The desire can only be maintained by a powerful vision. The vision is the fuel of the desire, which is the energy that will keep you going.
What should you do differently this year to make a success of your New Year resolutions?
Have a vision
People focus only on the actual resolutions, but not enough of the vision of how their life will change and how would it feel when their resolutions become part of their life. This is a key point.
Let me give you an example:
If you are focused on losing 10 kg, you may try a new diet, or combine it with exercising and going to gym. After a few weeks, or even months, if you do not get results you expect, you might give up.
That is because seeing a number on your balance changing from 60 kg to 56 kg will not in itself make you happy, what would really make you fill you with joy is when you will look at yourself on the mirror and see a slimmer face, or when you will try this jean that you could no longer wear and it fit you again. And that is your vision.
Your vision is your mental picture of the ultimate end result you want to see, and how your life will change when it happens and how it would feel.
So if your focus is on how sexy you would look once you have lost those 10kg, you will be pulled towards your goal, because you will be excited each time you picture that vision in your mind.
And the pleasure you derive from realizing your vision will be greater than the pain of doing what it takes, in your example it would be the pain of working out and the discomfort of changing eating habits in order to achieve the goal.
That is the reason why having a vision is so important. Your vision is the fuel to your desire, which is the mental energy required to take actions.
One last thing about creating the vision, don’t be afraid to have a big and unrealistic vision, I will explain further that only the goals must be extremely realistic and measurable…but your vision has to be grandiose.
Get rid of limiting beliefs
Everyone has some limiting beliefs, albeit consciously or unconsciously.
If you hold some limiting beliefs regarding your vision or your goals, you need to get rid of them.
That is because your limiting belief are also a power force that will hold you back as soon as encounter the first obstacle and bring about any excuses to reinforce the limiting belief.
So it is essential to become aware of any limiting beliefs if you want to make a success of your New Year resolutions this year.
Here is how you can do it
Become aware of your internal dialogues, the patters of your thoughts when you think of your vision and your goals.
Create new beliefs that are the exact opposite of your existing beliefs and repeat them to yourself even if you do not believe it at first ( I did it and it works). Just keep repeating those beliefs and keep going with your new resolutions.
This is called tricking your brain, I will address in more details how the brain works in another blog post.
Have an action plan
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail – Benjamin Franklin
It’s very easy to come up with big ideas like “this year I will double my income”, “this year I will lose weight” but if you don’t have a realistic plan, you will just talk about your resolutions, or will start but never finish.
I recommend that you set your New Year resolutions using the S.M.A.R.T method if you want to give yourself a chance to succeed.
S.M.A.R.T stands for
Your resolutions must to be specific, measurable, and timely
If your resolutions are too vague or not measurable…you are doomed to fail.
Example of too vague non-measurable resolution: this year I want to become rich
Example of specific measurable and timely resolution: I want to increase my income by 25 % by end of July and 50% by the end of the year
Your resolutions also need to be realistic and attainable, and the reason for that is because unrealistic goals will discourage you from doing anything and will just bring disappointment and frustration.
In my own experience, if you decide to go big from the beginning, 99 % of the time you will not succeed. This is because of the way our brain works.
Here is what happens when you start big:
Your brain does not like to get overwhelmed; it is wired to seek comfort all the time, so when it gets overwhelmed it will do anything to reverse it.
Your brain needs to get rewarded, and its likely to take longer with bigger goals (I know very few people who can stay persistent without getting frequent rewards)
The list is not exhaustive, but you get the point 😀
- Instead, try to start small and you increase your tolerance as you go:
- First because small improvement are more likely than a dramatic shift
- They improve your confidence on your ability to reach your final goal, because you are essentially giving your brain positive reinforcement that you are capable of what you are asking from yourself
- You make the process smooth and you are less likely to give up
- You reward yourself more frequently as you attain your smaller goals
Change one thing at a time
I am an advocate of focus over multitasking.
There are times when it’s good to multi task, but not when it comes to New Year resolutions.
So if you set many New Year resolutions, choose to focus on one at a time.
When you focus on one thing, you increase your effectiveness and you will see results quicker.
But when you multi task, you will be average at best and you may never see the results you want.
For example, don’t start a new language class French and workout all the same time, you are likely to give up on one of the two if not both.
Again your brain does not like to get overwhelmed, so if you limit yourself to fewer resolutions but you are committed to them, you increase your chances to realize them.
Build systems to succeed
Once you have your vision and your plan on how to go about it, you need to set up systems to start implementing the changes you need.
For example, you can use technology to set reminders to remind you of important milestones or calendar where you list all the required tasks…
any planning tool that you find user-friendly and works for you, you can try different systems and combine them until you find the optimal system which works for you.
Another thing is to write down a system in case of a failure.
Last but not least, you need to be persistent
Change do not happen overnight, and good things come to those who wait for them
So you really need to be persistent.
But how do you stay persistent?
The answer is to :
Trust the process
You need to trust the process because other people before you have tried It and they succeeded, so why not you.
All they did was that they trusted the process until it they reached their final goal.
The “No excuses rule”
If you have a tendency for making excuses, you are not alone…but this is not an excuse for not doing anything about it.
Try this instead:
When you encounter a problem, instead of jumping right to your favorite activity of making excuses and giving up, take a break, try to fix your problem but make the conscious decision not to say a word of excuse about it, even if you believe it deep down. Just do not say it and see how you feel about it.
At some point you will feel better again, and this is where you go back to where you were. Not saying the excuses will allow you to actually go back and not give up, until this becomes a habit not to say any excuses
Try this and let me know in the comment section below if it worked for you.
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