Welcoming in the New Year often includes a drive to self-development through a resolution. Gym memberships and self-help book sales spike, volunteer rate rise, and people seem to hold open more doors. Around late February or early March gyms go back to normal, books are left unread and people seem to fall back into their normal habits. Research suggests that more than 50% of Americans set resolutions, but less than 8% achieve their goals. Most of this failure is due to falling back into old habits and what feels natural to us, as Dan Harris, author of ‘10% Happier,’ puts it “so much of our lives are spent in a fog of habitual behavior.” It is this habitual behavior cycle that must be acknowledged and changed to succeed in a New Years resolution.
Resolutions can be an important part for self-development, so do not let the fear of failure dissuade you, instead let it create a sense of determination. There are many things you can do to ensure that you stick to your resolution.
Write them down:
Writing down your resolution is key to keeping it. Write it down and make sure it is somewhere you will see it every day. Commit to yourself that you will be accountable for your resolution.
Break it down:
Usually, our resolutions are big things, they are often stated as an end goal. If your resolution is to lose weight it is important to realize that a lot of components go into this goal. You will have to arrange the time to work out and prepare food. Your eating habits will have to change, and you also will have to go work out. If you attempt to do this all at once, you will be setting your self up for failure. Take it one step at a time. Below is an example of this:
- January- Stop eating junk food/ drinking soda
- February- Start tracking my food and be aware of what I am eating
- March- Start going to the gym 3 days a week
You would keep the last months’ goal while adding the next months. This helps you form habits without trying to do too much at once.
This can be a blog or through a journal. Write about your struggles and success. Document how you feel you are doing and keep yourself accountable.
Make it into a habit:
When setting goals like, lose weight, it can be vague, which makes it difficult to achieve. If you reframe your goals into statements of habit, it will make it tangible and therefore easier to keep. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, framing it as a habit could look like, “I will cook at least 4 meals a week at home” or “I will go to the gym 4 days a week.”
Get an accountability partner:
Making your goals public can be of huge benefit to you when it comes to keeping your resolution. When you tell someone about your goal to lose weight, for example, it adds pressure to reach your goal because there is a new sense that you do not want others to know you failed.