Jumping into a New Year with an updated action plan that’s going to change things to where you want to be, is just what New Year’s Resolutions are about. Keeping them after the first little while however? Well, for most of us, that’s just downright admirable. A rigorous study on New Year’s Resolutions showed that when it comes to keeping New Year’s Resolution goals:
- 77% make it through the first week
- 55% stick with their goals for a month
- 40% make it to the 6 months’ goal post
While the odds may seem to be stacked against you, there’s no reason why you can’t be part of the successful percentage. If you’ve got the good intentions, then adding a bit of psychological insight may be just what you need to better help you achieve these New Year’s ambitions.
Psychology shows that successfully keeping resolutions is about changing behaviours. In order to do this, we have to essentially “rewire” our brain so that our thinking and habits are changed. Here are 10 ways to help make it easier to exercise that grit needed to successfully keep your New Year’s Resolutions:
10 Steps to Successful New Year’s Resolutions
1. Be specific
Define what you’re going to do – don’t leave it open to interpretation. The more specific you are, the easier it is to follow through. For example, if you’re aiming to “be nicer to your spouse” then be more exact in how you’re attempting to do it and commit to something like “Not raising my voice to my spouse”.
2. Have a Plan
The irony of goals is that the more you want it the less you tend to plan. This is because we tend to assume that good intentions are enough to keep us going. Come up with a plan that has the how, when, where’s and what’s outlined, in enough detail to provide you with a map to follow on your goal-keeping quest.
3. Reality Check
If you want to make healthy lifestyle changes aim to make changes that are realistic. If you want to exercise more then aim for a few days a week, with a plan to scale up incrementally, rather than resolve to be at the gym for 2 hours 7 days a week from the 1st January. Similarly, if you want to change your eating habits, substitute dessert or snacks with a healthier and smaller option instead of instituting a punishing eating regime change right from the get-go.
4. Break it down
Breaking a goal into manageable segments makes it easier to convince ourselves that something is more doable.
5. Persistent Patience
Research shows that it takes 66 days for a new activity to become a habit. And as much as 6 months of continuous implementation for it to be fully adopted into our lifestyle or personality. Since change doesn’t happen overnight, be patient and persistent. Don’t give up if you haven’t got it right from day one.
6. Snowball Motivation
A goal that becomes increasingly motivating as it succeeds, is most likely to be sustained. With this in mind when selecting what you want to achieve choose something that you have control over, has success you can measure incrementally and that you can share with others.
7. Make a Bet
Good intentions are great persuaders. However, research shows that an extra external motivator can better help keep us on track. Incentivise yourself by making a bet with a friend or committing to give something away (donating money or a coveted object to charity) should you fall short of your goal.
Studies have shown that visual imagery is better than written word. Capitalise on this and put-up motivating quotes and pictures where you can see them to remind yourself of your goals. A vision board might be a good motivator as well.
9. Rest up
Stress and exhaustion deplete willpower. If you want to achieve your goals, make sure you’re getting enough sleep so you can better muster the determination to squish those bad habits or unhealthy impuleses.
10. Buddy up
Delivering on a promise or commitment made to someone else is often more attainable than one just to yourself. Have someone who you regularly check in with or consider finding a mentor or coach to help you succeed with making the changes necessary to keep your New Year’s resolutions. Are you interested in learning more about coaching and mentoring, and how these skillsets can be used to help those around you achieve their goals? SACAP offers a range of coaching courses, including the two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Coaching, and the five-month Coach Practitioner Programme. To find out more, enquire now