“The difference between what you were yesterday and what you will be tomorrow is what you do today.”
– Stephen Pierce
If you happen to set yourself a list of resolutions for 2015, odds are that this is not the first year that you have done so. Should you experienced disappointments or found yourself failing to follow through on some of your resolutions in the past, you are probably feeling a little jaded and skeptical of your ability to succeed in achieving this year’s goals. If that is the case, fear not for you are definitely not alone. According to a research done by University of Scranton in 2014, amongst the American adults that set new year resolutions, a mere 8% felt they’ve succeeded by the end of the year.
The statistic alone may lead you to think that setting yourself resolutions is just a way of paving the pathway to an inevitable disappointment and failure. However, from having gone through my own personal setbacks in the past, I have gained valuable insights that have helped me successfully achieving goals I have set for my self each year over the past few years.
With the odds set against you, it’s crucial to have strategies and tools in place to ensure that you keep moving forward when the going gets tough. Perhaps with the consistent application of the following simple yet practical tips, you too can become amongst that 8 % who will follow through and succeed. Here’s to becoming the very best version of you in the new year!
1. Decide That You are Ready and Willing to Change
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the American population who sets New Year resolutions, have included lifestyle changes such as losing weight, getting more exercise, becoming healthier and/or quitting smoking as their top goals.
“Old habits die hard” they say and for anyone who has tried it, kicking bad habits and/or developing new ones take an immense amount of discipline and willpower hence it’s crucial that you decide that you are 100% ready committed to the change.
In order to do so, you must promise yourself that you will do whatever it takes to follow through and succeed. Most of all, be sure that you are making the change for no one else but you. Decide once and for all to make yourself a priority as you deserve to finally become the person you’ve always known you could be. It all starts with the willingness of releasing bad habits that no longer serve you and/or cultivating habits that will take you closer to becoming your very best self.
2. Set No More Than 5 Goals at a Time
Unless your goals interrelate to each other such as becoming healthier, losing weight and getting fitter, it’s crucial to set yourself a maximum of 5 resolutions per year to focus upon for the year. Following through with one goal is difficult enough, hence if you set yourself many goals at once, you will likely to instantly feel overwhelmed and find yourself throwing your hands up in the air before you even begin your journey.
Be specific about your goals and create a plan as to how you would be able to measure your progress throughout the year. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 lbs within the year, set yourself an exercise and dietary plan you can follow each day. Additionally, it’s important to be disciplined but keep in mind to also allow yourself room for flexibility (e.g: having the occasional chocolate cake) because that way you won’t feel as if you are being deprived and end up having your efforts backfire, reverting back to old behaviors.
3. Visualize Yourself Successfully Achieving Your Goals
In order to truly believe that you have what it takes to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, you must be able to have a clear and specific picture of what success looks and feels like for you. By having a vivid and clear vision of how achieving the goals will positively impact your life, you will more likely to feel excited and enthusiastic about doing what it takes to make the change(s).
Envision yourself having achieved your goals at the end of the year and do it on a regular basis. Make the vision as detailed as possible – visualize as to how you and your life would improve as a result of achieving your goals. If you’re finding the visualization process a bit difficult at first, jotting down your thoughts and feeling on a journal often helps to create a solid and clear picture of what success looks and feels like for you.
4. Small Steps Equal to Big Results
Most people fail at their resolutions because they have a perception that their goals are too big, too complicated and too difficult to accomplish. As a result, we ended up convincing ourselves that the effort and change we must invest is simply not worth it.
To increase your likelihood when attempting to achieve what seemingly to be a huge goal, chunk it down to smaller steps and take it one day at a time. Remind yourself that the efforts you exert every day have the potential of leading you to your end goal. The important thing is to keep your momentum and choose to do something every day to realize the goals you have set for yourself.
Todd Herman, the founder of The Peak Athlete, a peak performance coaching and research company that caters to some of the world’s best athletes and leading executives, refers to these small steps as trigger goals which are essentially the actions that we need to take in order to accomplish the ultimate goals. Say you’d like to start a new exercise regimen of hitting the gym 4 times a week, an example of a trigger goal could be making a promise to change into your workout gear 4 times a week. Once you have your workout clothes on, you’ll find that you are much more likely to follow through with your bigger goal of hitting the gym.
5. Get an Accountability Buddy
Research shows that by the time February rolls around, most people already find themselves giving up on their resolutions. Getting an accountability partner may just stop this from happening to you and helps to make it a little bit easier for you to realize your goals.
Working towards goals become that much more fun when you are able to do it together with someone who is working on similar resolutions. This way, you can look to each other for motivation to follow through and provide support should one of you falter in your efforts. With a good support system, you will be more likely to stick to your goals and feel more confident in your abilities to achieve them.
It’s important to select a partner that you can trust and be open with because you may need him or her to be a shoulder to lean on when you feel as if the going gets too tough. Your accountability buddy should also be someone you can celebrate your “little wins” with. Whether it’s celebrating little milestones towards your ultimate goals such as reaching 10 days of no smoking or succeeding in getting yourself back on the bandwagon after a setback, giving yourself props for your hard work and efforts is key to get yourself to the finish line successfully.
As always, take what resonates with you and leave the rest. The most important thing to keep in mind when starting your journey of achieving your resolutions is the decision that you will commit to setting aside time and effort to your goals as one of your top priorities.
You and your life are worth investing in. In your efforts to get to your goal, it’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself stumbling and falling from time to time, but remember that you always have the choice of dusting yourself off and get back on track once more. Keep believing that you have what it takes you to overcome any obstacle that comes your way – because you do. It’s time to make your move towards living the life you’ve always imagined of living and becoming the person you’ve always known you were meant to be!