Whether we write it down, declare it out loud or merely think about it, most of us make some resolution for the New Year. Unfortunately over 80% of us don’t stick to our resolutions for more than 3 weeks and after 12 weeks even more of us fail. While it helps to have someone to hold you accountable for your resolution, such as a diet buddy or even a life coach like myself, ultimately it’s up to you to decide how important your goal is. Unfortunately once a resolution is broken you’re left feeling worse about yourself than when you started. As a coach, my main focus when working with people is to help them attain their goals.
Whatever your resolution might be, here are five sure fire strategies for succeeding in sticking with it.
Figure out the “why” – Are you really committed to your resolution or are you doing it because someone else is nagging you? If you’re not 100% invested then give it up right now. One of the first questions I ask my coaching clients is whether they really want to be happy above all else. At first the answer is yes but sometimes, after thinking about it for a while, they come up with qualifiers. Right then I know that they’re not going to achieve they’re goal. There’s a great quote from John Assaraf: “If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient; if you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”
Make it specific – A resolution requires a way to measure success. It’s not good enough to say “I’m going to start exercising” or “I’m going to lose weight.” A vague goal will ultimately end in failure. Give it form and shape and get as specific as possible. Rather than simply stating that you will lose weight consider all of the steps that will require. For example your resolution could look like this:
I will lost 10 pounds within 3 months and I will accomplish this by doing the following steps:
- Visit my doctor to determine my body mass index, cholesterol levels and other issues that could impact my weight loss
- I will research various diets to determine which is right for me
- I will begin walking/running or another cardio vascular exercise at least four times per week
- I will stock my kitchen with healthy foods and stop buying junk food
- Write it down – It has been proven that people who write down their goals are more likely to succeed. Print them out on several index cards and post the around your house and keep a copy in your car and purse as well.
Give yourself some slack – Resolutions should not be an all-or-nothing proposition. If you slip one time on your diet or you don’t work out for a week (or even two) don’t give up. Acknowledge that you’re human and get right back at it. Perhaps reconsider the resolution to see if it should be modified. Recognize that this isn’t failure on your part. If your child or a friend make a mistake or didn’t do something perfectly you’d most likely encourage them to keep trying. Give yourself the same love.
Reward yourself along the way – Everyone performs better when they are praised. Congratulate yourself on milestones along the way and reward yourself. If your resolution was to be more organized and eliminate clutter, buy yourself a pretty vase or picture frame if you’ve managed to clean out three drawers in your home office or donated a bunch of clothes that were taking up room in your closet.