Podcast - How to keep a New Year's Resolution
More than half of all resolutions fail. So, here’s how to identify the right resolution to improve your life, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.
Pick the Right Resolution
You’ll give yourself your best shot at success if you set a goal that’s doable — and meaningful too. A lot of these resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. Your goals should be smart (SMART). That’s an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. For example, setting how much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval.
Measurable. Logging process into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress.
Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated.
Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? Don’t make it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse.
Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way.
Create Your Plan
Because you won’t just wake up and change your life, you not only need a plan for what to do, but also for what roadblocks you’ll come across along the way. If you’re trying to form or break a habit, some studies suggest breaking down that habit into three parts: a cue, a routine and a reward. For example:
Bad Habit: I don't get enough sleep at night.
Cue: I feel like I need time to myself in the evening.
Routine: I stay up too late watching TV.
Reward: I'm entertained.
Way to change the behavior: Instead of staying up late to watch TV, carve out special time each day to spend by yourself, even if that may mean asking for help with your children or taking a break from work each day.
Leap Over Resolution Hurdles
No one’s perfect, and your quest for your resolution won’t be either. But you can get back on track. What’s the best way to tackle problems that arise on your way to success? First, remember no matter how well you plan, change is hard. So, before hurdles get in your way, make sure you have a plan to jump over them.
When you are first starting on your journey toward your resolution, instead of looking at the big number left to get there, look at what you’ve already achieved. Toward the end when that goal number shrinks, it’s perfectly fine to look at your progress, but zero in on what little remains before you hit your goal.
Try to be positive, but realistic. Yes, imagine the goal or positive fantasy, but then look at what obstacles are in the way and how to get over them. This technique is called W.O.O.P. — Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.
Wish: What do you want?
Outcome: What would the ideal outcome be? What will your life look like when you hit your goal?
Obstacle: Know yourself. What will try to stop you? What has sidelined you before?
Plan: How will you get around it?
Set a plan but be flexible when life gets in the way.
If you’re getting too much outside pressure, this could be a sign that you’re trying to change for the wrong reasons.
If you're slipping up, instead of blaming yourself, try to look at your behavior to figure out where the process is breaking down.
If you miss your goal, you didn’t fail. You’re your own experiment, so feel free to start fresh and be kind to yourself.