We’re less than a full month into the new year. Did you make any resolutions? If so, how’re they doing?
If you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution, don’t be too hard on yourself. It turns out that the odds were stacked against you. A study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 88% of people who make New Year resolutions fail to keep them.
Those are pretty dismal numbers when you consider it. A lot of people break their resolutions and feel depressed. But as the Japanese proverb says “Fall 7 times, stand up 8”. So, how can you salvage your new year’s resolutions?
- Remember why you made the resolution: It came from somewhere. So take a moment and try to reconnect with the original impulse. Life distracts us, so try to focus past the distractions and find what you had desired.
- Discard the resolutions that don’t come from you: Too often we resolve to do the things we think we should do, rather than the things we want to do. When you have no personal attachment to your resolutions, it’s a lot easier to break them.
- Reschedule your New Year: January is actually a bad time to start many resolutions. If we take weight loss as our example: gyms are more crowded than ever before, and the weather isn’t always friendly towards going outside and exercising. If any of these things are impacting your resolutions, why not wait until the spring? Good resolutions are a challenge, but there’s no reason that you shouldn’t stack the odds in your favor.
- Redefine your resolution: Try taking your goal and breaking it into smaller increments. For example, if you want to lose 36 pounds in the year, instead set yourself a more achievable goal of 3 pounds per month. This gives you a number of smaller goals that you can achieve and celebrate, helping you build momentum and retain your focus, even as you move towards achieving your larger overall resolution.
- Make use of your support network: We live in a world more connected than ever before. This means that supportive friends are as close as the smart phone in your pocket or the nearest computer. By sharing your resolutions with your support network, you gain people to help you when you’re struggling and who can celebrate with you while you succeed.
- If at first you don’t succeed…: We get too focused on failure. If you could change your behaviour without any problems then you wouldn’t need to make resolutions in the first place. If we learn from our mistakes, then we give ourselves a far better toolkit for long-term success than we would if we had succeeded without any problems or challenges.