20 Jan Why New Year’s resolutions never work
Twenty twenty. Time for your New year’s resolutions. Want to lose 5kgs or quit smoking? More exercise, more reading, less stress? The lists are long, and…they are the same every year, aren’t they? How many times have you firmly decided it was time to stop procrastinating or get in shape, sleep better or reduce your screen time? Usually we manage to keep it up for about two or three weeks. And then the good intentions vanish, we magically seem to forget about them. Or let’s say they settle on the back seat of our brain and pop up only on rare occasions. We see them, get a little upset…and continue driving.
Why is that? Well, because most of the times we write a wish list without thinking it through. Our desires are vague, sometimes unrealistic. We forget to create a plan and have no system to actually integrate them in our lives. Most of the times, a New Year’s resolution comes with a change of mindset or habit which is not as easy to implement and maintain as we think. And unless you are a superhero, a goal or task that is not planned for has little chance to be executed. When we sit in a car without a map or someone else telling us when to turn left or right, we will not reach our destination either. Here are my tips to make it happen:
- Why why why? Take some quality time and reflect upon your 2020 objectives. Write them down and ask yourself: Why? Why do I want to lose weight? To avoid health problems? To be more appreciated by my husband? To make a better impression at work? The more you understand about your real motivations, the bigger the chance you will actually get there.
- Is the resolution specific enough? Make sure your goal is specific enough, relevant and achievable. “Being promoted” for instance will not help you much as you are not the person who will make the decision. How about: “Complete the leadership course to acquire all skills required for a promotion”? Instead of saying “I want to read more”, write down the books you would like to read during the year. Set a realistic number of books, focus on your top five list. Then, break down your goal into concrete activities. Buying a new bike might include online research, price comparison, deciding on the shop and buying.
- Are you committed? Once you are clear about you goal and the activities linked to it, commit yourself. Be ready to follow through, be serious about it. Visualize the end goal, raise your motivation and don’t hesitate to tell others about it! And don’t forget, it might be more efficient to truly commit to 3 goals instead of vaguely aiming for 10.
- What is your plan? All the activities linked to your goal should be included in your to-do list and in your agenda. For that to happen, the tasks should be time bound and have a deadline. Be clear on when you would like to achieve which part of the resolution. If you want to lose 5kgs by running twice a week, schedule it in your agenda as ongoing event. Sign up for the half marathon end of May and schedule intermediate check-ups.
- How can you track the progress? Your goals should be measurable. Quit smoking is pretty clear, but less stress is not. How do you know if you reach the objective? How does success look like? Does less stress mean no work in the evening or one Yoga session a day? Define the success criteria and then periodically track where you stand. You can also schedule a quarterly resolution review where you go through all of your objectives.
If you would like to reach your destination make sure you know why you want to go there, how to reach the endpoint and when. Keep your goals on the front seat, and take them out for a celebration when you achieve success!
I wish you a safe drive through 2020 🙂
Picture: By Glen Carrie on Unsplash
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