Picture this….you are at a New Year’s Eve party. The crowd of 100 people is admittedly boisterous and festive. Then as the clock approaches midnight, the lights dim and people start to move purposefully to different sides of the room.
As the lights come back up, you are startled to realize that the large majority of the people (92 to be exact) are on one side of the room leaving only 8 lonely people on the other side.
And according to the University of Scranton those lonely 8 people will be the only ones in that crowded room of 100 to accomplish their New Year’s Resolution.
While that’s a pretty discouraging number, there are certainly some things you can do to help increase your chance for success:
1. Break it down. Changing behaviors and habits is simply not easy to do. But breaking your goal into smaller sub-goals is a great technique because it makes them feel less overwhelming.
We can use the second most popular 2014 resolution topic for a good example of this. Apparently “getting organized” was top of mind for folks. While admirable, that’s a pretty vague (not to mention intimidating!) goal.
Some good sub-goals may be to organize the kitchen in January. Then in February you can tackle the closet and maybe the garage in March. Regardless of the specifics, I think you get the idea.
And as an added benefit it’s much easier to see (and feel) your progress by using this method!
2. Phone a friend. It’s a given that we count on the support of family and friends when in crisis mode, but don’t underestimate their ability to help you keep on track with your resolution!
Sure they can help you talk you off the cliff before you break your New Year’s Resolution, but they can also help you celebrate your wins!
And the reality is that folks in your inner circle want you to make this change as much (and sometimes even more!) than you do.
So let them help and provide you encouragement along the way. Whether it’s a tough love reminder or a celebration of a small win along the way, a strong support network will increase your chances of making that New Year’s resolution stick!
3. Make it visual. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” There’s a reason the phrase has been handed down for generations…because it’s true!
And it’s especially true in relation to your goals. It’s common knowledge that your goals should be in writing and visible. If you have serious intentions of accomplishing your New Year’s Resolution, it deserves the same.
After all, isn’t your resolution really a goal?!? So write down what you want to achieve and make it visible. Perhaps you put a note in your phone, or a stick note on the fridge if you’re chasing weight loss.
Regardless of the specific technique, commit to putting your New Year’s resolution in writing and in front of your face!
4. Plan the Party. The simple act of celebrating your successes can be a huge motivator.
Not only does it provide you the much deserved opportunity to celebrate your determination, but it also can serve as a very public statement that you are still chasing (and accomplishing!) your goal.
Quite frankly, the more people you tell about your New Year’s resolution, the more pressure you put on yourself to stick to your guns. So announce the celebration plans when you share your resolution.
The simple act gives you something to anticipate and can even serve as a motivator to keep your support network engaged!
And if planning the celebration isn’t motivation enough, who really wants to admit to family and friends that you failed at something you wanted?!?
5. Quiet the voices. If you are like most people, chances are that you will have some occasional lapses in your New Year’s resolutions.
And when these happen you have two choices. You can either simply give up OR you can take a deep breath and give yourself a break.
When you walk away, you accept failure and literally lose. You lose the opportunity to improve yourself and accomplish something that was important to you. Conversely, allowing a misstep without losing sight of the goal, provides the continued opportunity to win!
Again, changing behaviors is hard and it’s much better to keep pursuing the goal when you fall short than just surrendering and giving up.
Back to that New Year’s Eve party…will you be on the side with 92 other guests who gave up on their dream or will you be standing proudly with 8 other folks? And in case you missed it, check out my earlier post for "5 Tips to Chose a SMART New Year's Resolution!"
Ultimately, it boils down to this….how determined are you to keep your New Year’s Resolution?