Changing Habits

New Year’s Resolution Fails

wrote this on January 7, 2015

With every passing year, we make New Year’s resolutions, only more often than not (probably 100%), we fail to achieve them.  Why do we insists on continuing with this ritual?  Or better yet, why don’t we change our approach so we can finally succeed?

Whether we want to get fit, quite smoking, increase our productivity or whatever else you fancy, nine times out of ten, we strike out.  Why?

As you can tell from the examples above, the resolutions are too broad, too vague.   Let’s take getting fit as an example?  Are you trying to lose weight, eat healthier, or run a half-marathon in under two hours?

Specificity is the key to developing an action plan to achieve your New Year’s resolution.  Take increasing your productivity as another example.  Who doesn’t want to increase their productivity?  But what does that really mean?  Most people don’t know where to start.

But phrasing your goal and breaking it down into the following may help you…

Increase my productivity by:

  1. Implementing a method to gain control of my overflowing email
  2. Focusing on tasks that are important to me, not others
  3. Performing a weekly review to gauge my progress

Sure, writing such a resolution takes more time because some thought is required.  But a resolution written this way is exponentially more likely to get done.

Let’s think about eating healthier.  If you try to quit cold-turkey all your bad eating habits, this may last 48 -72 hours, until your body binges on the next open bag of potato chips.

But phrasing your goal as such may get you the end result you want:

During January, I will:

  1. Eat red meat once per week (instead of 4 times per week)
  2. Eat out twice per week (instead of the current 5 times per week)
  3. Reduce my alcohol intake from 3 drinks per when going out with friend to 2 drinks).
  4. …..

During February, I will:

…..

You get the point.  In the above example, we identify the over-arching goal, but break it down to actionable tasks, for which you can be accountable.  Almost always, the phased approach to achieving your goals will bring you success.  Inherent in the phased approach is a series of small victories that will keep you motivated throughout the journey.

Here’s to achieving our 2015 New Year’s resolution.

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