How were you feeling as the clock ticked over at midnight on the 31st of December and a new year begun? Excited about all the wonderful stuff planned for 2018? Hopeful of what was to come? Drunk? Sleepy? Indifferent? How about as you first wrote the date 2018 on a new page, or wrote the first event on a new calendar? For me that first date writing of the year always brings a little thrill, what will this new year hold for me?
How about now, as February is upon us and the whole month of January has already passed, never to be relived?
Are you still feeling that excitement and positivity for 2018? Maybe you are still feeling drunk, or sleepy?! Perhaps a spot of despondency has set in as it already feels like your new year’s resolutions are slipping by the wayside?
You wouldn’t be alone. A widely held (yet seemingly un-referenceable!) statistic is that most new year’s resolutions fizzle out by the second week of February and only a measly 8% of resolutions are stuck to for the entire year. That means a whopping 3.87 million of Sydneysiders will not complete their resolutions. Sadly it seems the statistics are against us.
Personally, I haven’t set any new years resolutions this year, but I have got a whole load of goals, ideas and a few intentions in mind. Whatever your style – resolutions, intentions, a vague idea of doing things better, it’s easy to give in when the birthday cake doing the rounds at the office simply looks too delicious to stick to your no sugar plan! Or you’ve had a hectic day at work, it’s pouring with rain, you are exhausted and your partner has just suggested takeaway – jogging every day?? Hmm, there is always tomorrow!
But wait, all is not lost just yet! Here’s 4 simple ways to increase your chances of success with any new resolution, habit or a vague sense of doing things better that you’ve set your mind on.
1. Know your why
Identify the reason why you want to do your resolution or goal and consider why it’s important to you. In coaching, this is a key question which is typically addressed at the beginning of any session. Your motivation for doing something needs to be more powerful than the inevitable discomfort that it may entail. Without this strong motivation and driving force to keep you going when the going gets tough put simply it ain’t going to happen!
So take a couple of minutes to reconsider your resolution and identify why you have committed to it. Is your why significantly important to you and worth taking the harder option at times? If yes, then keep going! If not then maybe its worth reconsidering your goals.
2. Get back on that horse!
So you’ve recommitted to your resolutions with a clear why in mind but before you know it you’ve missed a day, the lightning bolt has crashed down from the sky and suddenly its all over! The only possibly feasible option is to start again in 2019 when you will do so much (much. much) better right?! NO!! So what if you missed a day, pick it up again tomorrow. Is it not better to miss a day and carry on the next day, rather than to miss a day and give up for the whole year? That’s a whole lot more days and opportunities wasted!
3. Begin again
Maybe it’s worse and you’ve missed a few days, or a week or even a whole month!! Well, why not just begin again? Any milestone is simply something come up with to mark the passage of time. Newsflash, you can pick your own milestones! Any new day, new week, new month, even a new hour is an opportunity to decide to do things differently. In fact, you don’t even need to do things on the hour, day or week, make up your own milestones! So there is no need to wait until 2019 for setting some new intentions, start now.
4. Be kind to yourself
Perhaps, most importantly of all, be kind to yourself. Are you the type to beat yourself up for not achieving what you set out to do? “You failure, how could you not achieve this one simple thing? Everyone else is doing so much better than you, blah blah blah!” your inner critic might say. Well, STOP! I often find that people set super ambitious goals for themselves without a clear plan of how they are going to get there. Take a few moments to reflect on your goals and consider if they are achievable around that other thing called life that you have going on? And if they are then chunk that big resolution down into smaller and smaller steps until you have an easy to accomplish action plan going forward. Small consistent action will be a lot more powerful than big powerful steps that never get taken!
For more on developing tiny achievable habits have a watch of this TEDx talk by BJ Fogg.