Let’s get real. According to a recent study by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolution(s). Realistically speaking, I’m not surprised given that we live in a short-attention span, instant gratification, quick-fix society. Becoming our best and achieving our goals is a committed journey and steady climb to the top of the mountain. You’re in it for the long haul, not a short trip. It takes hard work, patience and persistence day in and day out, rain or shine to make your goals happen. It also takes a game plan and discipline to follow through and do what it takes to reach those goals.
Every year we are bombarded about making New Year’s Resolutions and making the new year our “best year yet.” Common resolutions include desires to lose weight, make more money and spend less, as well as finding more time for relationships and hobbies—the things that matter most to you. Your resolutions may fall under the categories of health, wealth, school/career and personal growth, relationships, and contributions.
Even though our resolutions are genuine and well-intentioned, I believe there are 3 common reasons most people fail.
1. The Actual Resolutions Themselves…
Google “Resolution” and the first definition that pops up is, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” But yet, for most people resolutions are not firm decisions, but rather loose desires and wishes for what they would like for themselves and their life. It’s impossible to accomplish something or act on something and make it happen if you’re loosely committed to it or “half-assing” it.
With a goal you have to be all in 100% and with skin in the game. Most people fail because their resolutions aren’t actual concrete goals that they’ve set for themselves, but more like a lofty hope. You must be committed and you must have a compelling desire and reason to stick to achieving and reaching that goal. If it’s not important to you or not important enough, you will not put in the effort to make it happen.
2. Setting Too Many Resolutions…
The second fault with setting New Year’s Resolutions is that most people will write out something similar to a Christmas List—everything they would like for themselves in the coming year. While I think you should have a grand vision for yourself, that you write out for the year—that’s the starting point. You want to get everything down on paper and then narrow it down to 3 and then pick what is most important to you to start working on immediately.
Most people set all of these high expectations for themselves and expect to start working out 5x/week, eat better, have more time for meaningful relationships, travel, study more, get straight A’s, make more money, etc…. okay you see what I’m getting at right?! Slow your roll, girl. No wonder why many people burnout after the first week of January!
Let’s start by picking 1 thing we want and break it down even further to a habit we can start working on and implementing. What is the one thing that if you started doing on a daily basis would create the most positive change in your life right now?! This is called a keystone habit (Charles Duhigg talks about this extensively in his book, The Power of Habit). Your keystone habit, if you started committing yourself to it every day or a set number of times a week would lead not only to positive change, but it would create a chain reaction for more healthy, positive habits and a lifestyle that supports your goals and vision for yourself.
3. No Game Plan or Success System and a Lack of Commitment…
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. In order to take your life to the next level and really grow, develop and become your best, you must have a game plan or success system in place. What got you to where you are today may not get you to where you want to go next, so you have to identify what you need to change and what you need to do every day and every week to get to your goals.
Remember success is the sum of small actions repeated over time. This is why identifying a keystone habit or one action step you’re committed to taking every day to reach your goal is so important. Imagine your life and how it would be if you made one small positive change every day for a week, a month, two months, etc. All it takes is one small change to create momentum and a large impact domino effect to have extraordinary results.
So, what can you do to redesign your day to make room for your new action step or habit? When are you going to do it and where are you going to do it? It’s not merely enough to say you are going to do it—you must have an exact plan, down to the details, drawn up. What is your daily blueprint? We are creatures of habit and will fall back into our old ways if we don’t develop a daily system. Maybe you have to sleep in your workout clothes to get to the gym in the morning. Or, perhaps you have to turn off your phone for a period of time every day to be more productive and free of phone distractions. What is it that you need to do?
And, it is extremely important to understand the consequence and pain of not doing it. Okay, so you miss a day, or two or maybe even three. But, consistent effort and commitment is necessary. If the pain or consequence of falling back into your old habits or old ways isn’t painful or that big of a deal to you, then your new habit isn’t that important. If it’s important to you, you will find a way to make it a priority.
So, this new year I challenge you to take, at a minimum, one hour of personal quiet time, without distractions, to sit with yourself and get real about what you want. I want you to dream big and write out everything you desire for yourself in 2017! Don’t limit yourself in this process. But, then take it further. Break it down. Get to the root.
What is the one thing that would create the most positive change in your life if you started acting on it immediately on a consistent daily basis?
How can you stick to it? Remind yourself of the discomfort you would feel if you didn’t stay committed. Make this action your priority and check-in with yourself about your progress on a weekly basis.
Once you’ve mastered this in a month, two months, three months, revisit your list again and repeat the process. It’s simple and effective. Forget New Year’s Resolutions and commit to one thing instead. This time next year you’ll be looking back and thanking yourself that you did!
What keystone habit or action have you decided to commit to every day? Let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to be a part of your support team and journey!
Love + Sweat,