Many people see the arrival of January as a fresh opportunity to wipe the slate of their lives clean and start anew. As a result, we routinely make resolutions and fantasize about where we want to be this time next year.
We collectively hinge a lot of hopes and dreams on the beginning of the year. As a result, New Year’s resolutions are usually goals with a fresh coat of paint and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. And glitter. Lots of glitter. This year is going to be different, right? Right!
Right… Not bad in terms of intention, but execution is another thing entirely.
Regrettably, a lot of us join the resolutions bandwagon only to lose steam a few weeks into the process. Researchers at the University of Scranton found that while 45% of Americans usually make resolutions for the New Year, only 8% are ultimately successful in achieving them.
And there you are suddenly in June (less than half maintain resolutions beyond 6 months) with glitter stuck in your hair and the bitter taste of disappointment on your lips.
If you are looking for change in the year to come, I suggest that you quietly dismiss the whole process of mentally creating ‘resolutions’ in January and do these 3 things on a regular basis instead:
1) Write down your goals.
Researcher Gail Matthews of Dominican University conducted a study that found that people who literally took pen to paper to write down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not. There is something powerful about documenting your objectives and posting them in a place where you can see them daily.
Want to make sure that your goals pack an extra punch? Scope yourself to focus on 3-5 things and make your objectives SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
Think of it this way: “I want to lose some weight.” vs. “I want to lose 10 pounds over the next 6 months by working out 3 times a week and eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet.”
See what I did there?
Document SMART goals that get results. Make your goals a part of a standard mantra that you can see and reaffirm.
2) Get clear about your ‘why’.
Motivation kicks in to carry us through when we begin to grow weary in the pursuit of our goals. When it comes to resolutions for the New Year, we don’t always do the requisite work to understand why we truly want to make a change and how our lives will be better if we follow through with action.
Intrinsic motivation (the drive to do something that comes from within ourselves) can ultimately have more longevity and impact than extrinsic motiviation (encouragement from an external source).
Why does a particular goal really matter to you? How will your world change if you are successful?
Gain clarity to stay inspired and revisit your ‘why’ when you are tempted to stop. Your ‘why’ will get you through difficult times again and again and again. And again.
3) Start right now.
One of the biggest barriers to any type of productivity is often taking the first step. If you genuinely want to drive change, however, start now.
I’m serious. Right now.
You probably don’t need to wait until January 1st. Or any other arbitrary future date for that matter. Make the decision to move forward simply by making the commitment to begin now.
No need for dramatic proclamations. Put yourself in the position to take massive action – that is half the battle.
Show up for yourself.
Some things are schedule-specific, but many are not. I’m just keeping it real, don’t get mad at me – I am merely the messenger. If you don’t truly want to do something, you’ll always find a way to delay or defer the process. Any time, New Year or not.
You know I’m right.
If you aren’t willing to start now, ask yourself: What is holding me back? And how can I move these challenges aside so I can move ahead?
Don’t delay. By choosing to begin now, you’ll build momentum and be in full stride when others are just getting started.
Make goal creation, assessment and refinement a part of your routine throughout the year and kick resolutions to the curb for good.
BONUS: Need help figuring out what matters most and how you can drive change? Get your free ‘Bliss Blueprint’ workbook and coaching guide here.
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