New Years is an Empty Promise holiday of sorts. A thousand new resolutions are made each January and its often the case that as soon as the words escape the lips of all those hopeful people, they float off into the ether and are lost to the world…
Its probably not that surprising that a great number of New Year Resolutions are never seen through. We’ve all probably made a number of commitments that we didn’t manage to live up to, if we even tried at all. In the UK 28% of those who made new year commitments, failed to see through any of them. 47% of those people failed in at least some of those.
For many of us when given the clean slate of a new year, we take the chance to create a brand new version of ourselves, only to find that by March, we don’t have the motivation to keep on painting.
But we can help give ourselves the best chance of seeing through those commitments, and with these tips, you may find yourself more successful with your new years resolutions in 2020, than ever before!
#1 Start Small and Be Realistic
Probably the most important tip we can give. If you really want to hit one of those classic commitments, like losing weight, or travelling more, don’t immediately shoot for the moon. It may be tempting to set yourself an aggressive goal to force you into working toward it, but if you’ve had struggles with achieving goals and commitments before, the best thing to do is start out small. Don’t immediately start starving yourself on a tough new diet, or head off to Machu Pichu with a weeks notice. You’ll find things get overwhelming fast, and its hard to stay motivated when faced with an impossible task.
So instead, set yourself a small target first. Instead of travelling the world, start with just one destination. Rather than starving yourself on a 2 day fast, start tracking calories on your meals. Instead of goings straight for a marathon, start with a 5k. It’s easier, and that’s kind of the point. You will achieve these easier goals more readily, getting that dopamine hit and desire for more. After that you can set more goals, small and simple, and as you check them off, your accomplishments will grow like a snowball rolling down a mountain slope.
#2 Be Specific
You may be temped to set a nice generic resolution, like “Lose weight”, or “Travel More”, but this is a recipe for failure. If you’re vague with your resolution, then its impossible to focus on its implementation. You need to be specific about what you want to achieve. Not to a crazy degree of accuracy, but instead of “Lose weight”, say “Lose 10 pounds”. Instead of “Travel more” say “Visit 5 new countries”. Once you have a specific goal in your mind you will find it easier to plan. You can narrow down those five new countries, rather than generating an impossible wish-list of places to visit in your head. It also makes it much easier to measure your progress, which leads us on nicely to our next tip…
#3 Track your progess with goals you can measure
If you’ve set a nice specific goal like the above step recommends, then it becomes easy to regularly track your progress. Humans have an addiction to checklists, and the desire to place a tick beside an item is a powerful motivator. We can use this to help us achieve our goals. Lets take “Lose 10 pounds” as an example. You can weigh yourself weekly and see visibly see as you get closer to your goal. It also helps you catch yourself when you start to slip. Gained a pound back after a particularly indulgent week? Well know you can see the consequences and know what to do to avoid it in the future.
The snowball effect works here too, as you knock off objectives you get that dopamine hit and get even more motivated. Each country you visit, each non-smoking day you cross off the calendar, each pound lost, it all adds to the momentum of achieving your goals. Plus you have a very tangible way to see what you have achieved!
#4 Start Whenever
Okay, so not technically a ‘New Years’ tip, but it still works pretty good. You don’t have to wait for January 1st, or until the start of the next month, or next week or next day even. You can start out with your goals at any time. In fact the best time to start is right now (cliche i know, but its a fact!). New years, new months, new weeks, new days all have this lovely ‘clean slate’ feel about them, which can be enough of a boost to help some people kick off their goals. But they can also be a crutch. Putting things off until another time is a classic human trait, we’re notorious for it. And given the opportunity, we can keep putting those things off indefinitely. So its much better to just start as soon as the motivation strikes you.
So don’t wait to mold the new you, not even until the following morning. By then the motivation could be far away as you lie beneath warm blanket covers. The hardest part about any of this is to start. It may be tough to see it out for the entire year, but you can only be certain of failure, if you don’t try in the first place.
If you wanna hear more about New Years Resolutions, its the topic of our latest episode. Listen here, or take it with you through any podcast service: