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Do you struggle to keep your new year’s resolutions?
I sort of assumed that most of us do. I wanted a real number though, so I googled it – cus google always knows. Google shocked me a little this time. (I got you a screen shot so you can be shocked too.) It claims that NINETY-TWO PERCENT of us will fail at keeping our new year’s resolution. Whhhhatt??
As a collective, we are THAT poor at follow through?
It would seem so. (Interesting point here – I participate in an affiliate program for BestMark – a secret shopping company – that I used to get FREE oil changes for my car (before I got a VW) – and anyone can join as a secret shopper (check it out here if you’re interested). As of today, I have had 1044 people join BestMark and EIGHT people follow through with secret shops. Follow through is a problem.)
WHY is follow through such a problem?
I believe we have good intentions. I really do. Even if 92% of us are failing all over at follow through, I think there’s a good chance that close to 100% of us intend to follow through. We just don’t.
I’m willing to bet that for most of us, our problems with it are the same.
In general: life is busy, change is hard, and there are always more pressing matters to deal with than “what we want out of life”. The path of least resistance is the path that you’ve tread down really well over the years, and it’s comfortable and easy to stay on it.
BUT the belief in our ability to change is really what’s at the heart of this blog. (I understand that most people don’t change. But that doesn’t change my belief that we are able to change.) So this year, I want to encourage you:
Make this the year that you keep your new year’s resolution
Make your new year’s resolution something worth doing. Something worth the effort to you.
Not something you think you “should” do, but have no real interest in doing. Choose to address that thing that bothers you the most; that frustrates you more than anything else (even if it’s something you know will be hard to address!). Choose a new year’s resolution that comes with a goal that you can keep your eyes on and recognize the value of. If it’s a mammoth, scary, hard goal, then JUST CHOOSE ONE resolution. Why make two if you aren’t even gonna be able to keep one?
And make it specific, with an actionable plan.
Your new year’s resolution can be the biggest hardest thing you’ve ever done before, (and I encourage that!) but you can’t decide to “lose weight” and then leave it at that.
If your new year’s resolution is to lose weight, break that down into actionable steps. “Lose weight” probably requires a few changes in your life style… not just one. To start, determine what your worst habits are that are contributing to the problem you’re trying to address.
If your goal is to lose weight, maybe your worst habits are being sedentary, eating too much sugar / processed foods, and not drinking enough water. So break that down into actionable steps – you can join a gym, improve your nutrition, and up your water intake. But you don’t need to do all three at once. (Can you say overwhelming?!)
Join the gym in January. Don’t even THINK about nutrition or water (- although DO make sure you’re drinking enough water during your workout). But just focus on one step right now. (The reason I say join the gym first is because paying for something helps me with follow through – now I have a reason to follow through.)
Make a plan, and write down the steps you will follow – have a reasonable timeline. Big changes don’t happen overnight.
Give yourself a tangible reason to follow through (if possible).
So if you join the gym in January, you’ve paid for the gym. You are out that cash if you don’t go. If you make water drinking your first step… well, I bet by the 14th you’re back to diet pop and buying stretchy pants.
“Because I want to” is not a good enough reason for follow through – for most of us anyhow. Our wants change all the time, dependent on our feelings, and our resolutions are only going to be as strong as the want is at that very moment. Your reason for follow through has to be bigger than just your wants.
Maybe your resolution is to become published. For me, shelling out my hard earned cash is always a good reason for follow through – you could find and pay for a writing course so you DO have something to lose if you don’t work on your writing. Or make it about someone else – you need to be healthier for you kids, or you need to earn extra income so your spouse can work a few less hours.
Finding a friend to keep you accountable and to make this change with you might help. If someone else is counting on you, you’re more likely to follow through – even when you don’t want to.
Or you could tell EVERYONE you know what your goal is, and make it so public that failing would be hideous… avoiding embarrassment isn’t a great reason, but it’ll get you farther than “I want to”.
Finally, determine that you are the boss of your life, and nothing is ever gonna change unless you change it.
All the great intentions out there never got anyone anywhere.
Decide to be a person of action, and then be a person of action. (Not as easy as it sounds, but not impossible by any means.) There’ll be days when you totally fail at whatever you’re attempting. But don’t let those failing days turn into failing weeks.
Two steps forward and one step back is still progress, and action doesn’t mean perfection – so just keep going.
You owe it to yourself to make the changes that will improve your life. We only get a little time here on this earth, and largely, our time here will be what we make it – so in 2017 take the steps to make it great. Stop making excuses… life is short.
I’d love to hear about your new year’s resolution – what changes are you making in the coming year? Have you struggled with the follow through on your new year’s resolution in the past? Will this year be different?
(It sure can be – you just need to decide to make it different!)
Happy New Year!