I’m curious. What are you striving for this year? Do you have a plan for how you’ll get there? New Year’s Resolutions are popular. But they aren’t very effective. If you’ve adopted a New Year’s resolution, there’s an excellent chance you’ve already abandoned it. In fact, on January 12, you can wish people “Happy Quitters Day”! Studies show this is the tipping point. On this day more New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside than are still in effect.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve abandoned your resolution. Some people have given up striving for personal growth. They are so discouraged they have given up trying to become a better version of themselves. They’re afraid of deceiving themselves and others around them. We all want this year to be better than last year. But New Resolutions are an ineffective way of making that happen. If you’ve become frustrated with the whole process of making resolutions, I don’t blame you.
A typical New Year’s Resolutions hasn’t got a chance because:
- It’s unrealistic. News flash. You cannot change all your bad habits in one fell swoop, even if it is a New Year!
- It’s not sustainable. Two hours of working out every evening is not possible. Even Olympic athletes allow for days off.
- It lacks backbone. A resolution cannot work alone. You need a plan for how you will make it work.
- It is pass/fail, with no room for nuance. No one gets ideal results on the first try. You must be free to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and adjust your approach.
So instead of New Year’s Resolutions, what can you do?
- Identify what you want to achieve. Then get very clear on why it’s important to you. Focus on the “Why” for motivation.
- State your goal as if it was already happening. Say “I’m taking steps to increase sales by 50%.” This is much more powerful than saying “I want to increase sales this year.”
- Create one new habit that will help you reach your goal. To increase sales, you could increase the number of sales calls each week. You could by publish one new article each week on your blog, publish it on social media to increase engagement with your clients. You could attend one new networking event each month. To name a few…
- Start with small steps. Radical changes cause too much stress because they take you far out of your comfort zone. Start small and make incremental steps that let you stretch your comfort zone. As you get more comfortable, raise the stakes.
- See “failure” as a learning opportunity. Then adjust your plan. Don’t quit, make small changes to your habits.
- Reward yourself. Notice what you’ve accomplished. Don’t waste energy fretting about not achieving what you’d hoped. Celebrate even small wins. Being a tough taskmaster doesn’t help you reach bigger goals. Celebrating increases your energy and provides an experience you’ll want to repeat. When you celebrate progress, you’ll want to continue that progress.
- Start now! Don’t wait until everything is perfect to get started. Nothing will ever change because things are never perfect. Don’t wait until you have time. Make time.
Be happy no matter what. If you achieve your goals, celebrate! If you don’t reach your goals, striving towards them has already changed you for the better.
So now, let me know what new habit will you be adopting this year?