Here we are again, approaching a new year. It's so exciting… a fresh start to everything!! December 31 is the day we either celebrate the great year we're closing out or get wasted trying to flush the ugly days, or months, away. But then the ball drops, we sing “Auld Lang Syne”, kiss somebody, and decide to start all over.
“This year, I'm going to…. resolution, resolution, resolution…., resolution.” But are you really? Out of the 45% of Americans that make resolutions, only 8% are successful. But kudos to the 46% of those that make it half the year and even to those 64% that grind it out that first 31 days. I didn't make these numbers up. I got it from statisticbrain.com. They got it from the Journal of Clinical Psychology from the University of Scranton.
Obviously, this is an area Americans need to work on. So let's start from the top. What is a resolution?
resolution – n. a firm decision to do or not do something
Seems simple enough. Anyone can make a firm decision. The problem comes when you have to dig into your inner stubbornness and stick to that decision. Again, this seems simple when it's something you really want. So why aren't you achieving your goals?
- Maybe it's not something you really want. Many people make these resolutions because other people think they should. For example, some people are comfortable with their weight, but because their spouse, friend, or parent think they're overweight, they'll resolve to lose 30 pounds. If you don't desire it for yourself, you will have no motivation to actually go through with it.
- You don't know how. How many times have you said you'll do something and you know there's no way on Earth you'll get it done? “I'm going to save $10,000 this year!” That sounds great, but if you only made $25,000 this previous year, how are you going to save almost half of that this coming year? There are two ways to look at how. The first is how, as in the actual processes needed for said outcome to happen. The second is how, as in is this outcome even possible. As for the processes, apply the following tips accordingly and you'll become part of the illustrious 8%. As for the possibility, anything is possible. You have the ability to design your own life. You just have to state what you want and watch the stars align in your favor. But that's another post for another day.
10 tips to actually achieve your New Year's Resolutions
- Make it something YOU really want. Resolutions are about setting goals for yourself. Therefore, you have to look inside yourself and figure out what it is about you that you want to improve. You are the only thing that you have full control over. So the focus of your resolutions should be you. What do you want?
- Be specific. Have you ever heard “write the vision, make it plain”? If your goal is to lose weight, how much weight? In what amount of time? If you want to save money, how much? Specific goals are measurable and easier to attain because you can track your progress. This is the whole reason for having lines on a football field. I'm kidding, but it does make sense.
- Write it down. Again, “write the vision, make it plain”. There's a certain absoluteness in putting something in black and white. Plus, you can always refer back to it when you're losing focus.
- Make a plan. Before you dive into a new task, research what it takes to make it happen. Achieving a new goal is like going to a new destination. You'll get there faster and with less detours if you have directions. More specifically, break your goal down into small chunks. Your plan should have small benchmarks to give you extra little boosts of enthusiasm each time you hit one. You will continue to refresh your motivation toward your main goal each time you reach a small goal.
- Automate. In many cases, part of your plan can be automated, especially when saving money. You can have your a portion of your paycheck be directly deposited into your savings each pay period. If you don't physically have to touch the money, you won't be tempted to spend it. Also, some banks have a whole dollar program where each time you make a purchase from your checking account, the bank rounds the total up to the next whole dollar and deposits the difference into your savings account. For instance, if your phone bill is $98.15, the bank will deduct $99 from your checking account to cover the bill and deposit $0.85 into your savings account. It's like automatically collecting your daily pocket change in a jar.
- Be prepared to change some habits. The purpose of most resolutions is to improve your life. If you aren't prepared to make lifestyle changes, even if you do reach your goal, you can plan to relapse by the start of the next year. Allow your resolutions to form new habits.
- Be still/meditate. Take personal time each day, even if only 15 minutes, to focus on you and the improvements you are making in your life.
- Find an accountability partner. If you have someone to hold you to the commitments you've made, you'll be more likely stick to your goal. Having a partner with similar goals can also add a layer of fun to your journey.
- Forgive yourself. When you fall short, don't be so hard on yourself. That makes it easier to quit. Forgive your shortcomings and give yourself a little wiggle room so that your journey remains a positive experience. Positivity begets success.
- Stay positive. Not only at it pertains to your resolutions but continuously feed positivity and happiness into your life. Watch funny movies. Start your days with your favorite music. Dance throughout the day. And, for heaven's sake, SMILE!
Be grateful. At the very minimum, find at least thing to be grateful each and every day!
I wish a wonderful New Year for you and your family filled with many blessings and cheer. If you received any value to this post, comment below and feel free to share and connect with me on social media.