No doubt, many of you have set some personal and professional goals for the New Year. How can you go about making sure that they stick?
Statistics show that about 45% of Canadians will make a New Year’s resolution but that two weeks later, 30% of people will have given up on their resolution, and that 50% will not make it to the 6 weeks mark.
The most popular resolutions are typically losing weight, getting organized, saving money, getting in shape and quitting smoking.
Why is it that we lose focus or give up on our resolutions?
Here are four strategies that can help you gain focus stick to your resolutions in 2016:
1. Measurability is important.
As we mentioned in last week’s post, for a goal to be reached, it is important that it can be specific and measurable. Rather than say “loosing weight” we must fix a precise goal such as lose 20 lbs before the end of the year. That way, you can calculate your progress and have a specific objective in mind. 20 lbs sounds like a lot, but once divided into a monthly or weekly goal, it seems a lot more achievable. Same thing applies to savings – having a specific amount in mind at the end of the year can be calculated on a weekly basis to keep us in line. A goal such as “getting in shape” is incredibly vague, but if you’re objective is to run 10 km before the end of the year, it is a lot easier to find the necessary resources to achieve our goal, like joining the Running Room for example.
2. Translate your resolution into specific tasks or habits.
Take, for example, the most common resolutions:
- Quitting smoking becomes changing a habit such as NOT smoking the cigarette you usually have after breakfast.
- Eating better becomes having a banana as a snack instead of a pastry.
- Losing weight becomes going for a 15-minute walk after work every day.
- Less stress becomes meditating for a short period each day as you wake up.
A change in habits, and setting specific tasks, rather than making a vague resolution will increase your success rate. Keep in mind that it takes on average 66 days to incorporate a new habit in your life. The secret to changing a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit! A good way to build habit is to use the Seinfeld method explained here. We’ve created this calendar to help you in your journey.
3. Share your resolution with a trusted source.
We fail to keep our resolutions because we keep them to ourselves. If your goal for 2016 is to run a 10km race, and that you keep it to yourself, it doesn’t really matter whether you do it or not: no one will call you on it. However, if you tell your family and friends that you are preparing for a race, you will have support and encouragement from the beginning. They will ask you questions about your training and your progress and you may inspire others to sign up with you. Share your resolution and you’ll be even prouder when you’ve reached your goal. Make sure you also share your health goals with your chiropractor and massage therapist – they will know what pitfalls to look for and will be able to better accompany you in your journey to a new you.
4. Pick one task at a time.
It is more difficult to break several bad habits at a time. Pick the most important one, work on it and get comfortable with it. There’s no need to wait until January 1, 2017 to work on something else: you can make positive changes in your life at any time of the year.
To conclude, the perfect recipe to reach your goals for 2016 is simple enough. Limit yourself to one goal at a time, keep it concrete and measurable, concentrate on small habit changes rather than large conceptual changes and tell people about it. What will be your success rate in 2016?