Sticking to your New Year's Resolutions
How long do people stick with their new year's resolutions? When I query Google, I get a ton of different articles that seem to suggest somewhere around the 2-week mark is the average. A University of Scranton study found that 92% of people who set New Year's goals never actually end up achieving them.
In this blog post, I share 3 tips to help you stick to your new year's resolutions so that you can make it into that elusive 8% :)
In the past, I've always been pretty dismissive of new year's resolutions. I've had numerous friends, students, clients tell me - I'm going to wait until after the new year to make whatever changes I know are going to up-level my life. In my mind, I was thinking, why wait? To me, time and calendars were just social constructs. If you KNOW your life will be improved in some way by making certain changes, why would you wait?
But nowadays, I'm just happy when people are looking to consciously grow and evolve in positive ways. I do believe there is a certain power in group energy. So if more people are looking to start fresh on January 1st, then count me in.
So as I go into 2022 and 2021 comes to a close in less than a few weeks - I'm taking stock of what the previous year has taught me. I'm thinking back to all the different moments that I'm appreciative and grateful for. As well as looking forward to 2022 and deciding what seeds to plant so that I can move into the new year with more intention. I'm asking myself - what do I want to work on? What challenges do I want to tackle? What am I excited for?
When we set new year's resolutions for ourselves, it's not like we forget about them - and THAT'S why we don't achieve them. We usually set them with the best of intentions. We set them because somewhere deep down, we feel that achieving these goals will help improve the quality of our lives in some way. Maybe we want to start working out or eating healthier? Or start learning a new skill or switch to a new, more fulfilling job?
Instead, we often lose sight of our goals simply because life just got busy. We're just going along, doing our thing - and then something comes up. Maybe a fire we need to put out. Or an unexpected event happens. And then before we know it, a week goes by. And then a month. And then a quarter. And before we know it, the whole year has gone by, and we don't have the time or energy left to accomplish what we had set out to accomplish that year.
So what are some ways we can make sure this doesn't happen?
Tip #1: Connect with your goals
The first tip is to connect with your goals each morning. Many of our goals end up going on the back burner only because we don't take the time every single day to put them at the forefront of our attention. In this way - it's easy for them to just fall by the wayside.
So set aside time each morning to visualize and really FEEL into your goals. Don't just think about them, but really feel into how it would be to actually attain them. They are goals you wanted to commit yourself to for a reason. So dig deep and tap into why they are a part of your dreams - your greater vision and passions.
But don't stop there. Also feel into what it would feel like to face hardship while attaining your goals. Goals - good goals at least - are a reflection of us wanting to step outside our comfort zones to grow and progress in some way. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that we will face adversity and struggle while working towards our goals.
But this is often what people DON'T want to feel - the discomfort of things not going as planned. Things being harder or taking longer than expected. And so they give up.
So better prepare yourself by feeling into what the adversity that you KNOW is coming - FEELS like. And then visualize yourself moving past it. Past the struggle. Past the doubt. Past the discomfort. And then ultimately achieving your goals.
When we do this, we're also building our resiliency "muscles." During times of struggle, it's often easy to CONVINCE ourselves that - this goal wasn't what we really wanted for ourselves, or that we didn't really want to grow in the ways that achieving this goal would give us. But that's usually just the mind playing tricks on us so that we don't have to sit with the discomfort. By anticipating that we will face hardship from the get go, we can be much better equipped to keep going and follow through on our intended goals.
Tip #2: Have weekly check-ins
The second tip is to have scheduled, weekly check-ins with yourself. It's typically helpful to break down big goals into smaller, actionable steps that we take on each week - to make them more manageable and approachable. So each week, AUDIT yourself. Determine whether you were able to follow through on the tasks you committed yourself to that week to make progress towards your ultimate end goal. Don't beat yourself up if you weren't able to. There will always be times when life challenges happen or that even unexpected OPPORTUNITIES present themselves that take our attention away from our planned actions.
But it's good to see when we haven't been able to follow through. Again, no need to judge yourself. Just acknowledge when you haven't been able to. Just the process of checking in with yourself weekly is enough to keep your attention focused on the goals you've set for yourself.
Tip #3: Seek accountability and support
The third and final tip is to find accountability partners. It's so easy to keep our goals and dreams to ourselves. It feels much safer not to let others know what we're struggling with or what we hope to accomplish - especially if we're lacking the self-confidence that we'll be able to actually follow through.
But for most of us, unless we share and verbalize our goals to others - it's easy to convince ourselves that we have other priorities or that we should be doing something else - instead of making progress on our goals. By having accountability partners or at least a very strong support network, we're much more likely to stay on track with achieving our goals and a greater vision for ourselves.
Accountability partners work best when there's a genuine and mutually supportive relationship - so choose wisely. Choose partners with similar goals and aspirations. If you have a goal of eating healthier - find a partner that also is committed to eating healthier. If you want to become a health coach, it's probably helpful to find other people who are also wanting to become health coaches so that you can mastermind together and support each other through challenges that may be unique to the field.
And accountability partners is not just about giving each crap. It's also about having others to share your successes with. Finding accountability partners that are on a similar path as you is a great way to celebrate WINS together - to celebrate with others who are able to directly appreciate the shared journey with its inherent struggles. In this day and age, it's MUCH easier to build a strong support network through the power of the Internet. You literally have the world at your fingertips.
What are strategies you have for sticking with your goals and new year's resolutions?