It’s easy to explain why it’s so easy to hide your New Year’s resolutions in the fridge again. In many cases, the temptation is simply too great to sustain. To put it positively: only 8% of the population succeeds in making good intentions a reality. In other words: 92% fail! The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to be part of that 8%.
The goal is only part of the process
Many people make resolutions to achieve a certain outcome. Spend less money, get a new job or lose weight. However, the mistake is made in the thought process. People would like to achieve the set goal, but the preparation falls short.
As professor of business psychology Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic wrote, “There is a big difference between wanting change and wanting to change. Even when people say they clearly want to change, it usually means they are interested in change as an outcome, rather than change as a process. In other words, most people don’t really want to change, they want to be changed.” This does not apply to losing anyway, you will have to approach it smarter .
Good intentions take time
A year has 365 days and to be honest, that’s quite a lot. That thought alone is enough to break your motivation. Often it comes down to the goal being too big. You need to be able to visualize your goal to make it reachable. Small steps can work like a magic spell. If you want to lose ten kilos in a year, set the goal of losing one kilo in the first month. If that succeeds, the step to the next month is much smaller. In addition, be aware of the fact that eating less has little effect, but immerse yourself in how your body works so that you are even better motivated to keep it up.
Be aware of setbacks
Wonderful all those intentions, but don’t forget that you can have a relapse. For example, if you want to stop smoking, keep in mind that you will undoubtedly feel like a cigarette at the strangest moments. For example, if you want to exercise more, realize that you can also be sick. Keeping up with good intentions never goes smoothly. So don’t let a relapse make you think you can’t do it.
Tim Bono, a lecturer in psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, said people meeting their resolutions should identify potential setbacks in advance and then create a backup plan if a setback occurs. Sounds like a smart approach.
Divide your goal into stages
There’s nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals, but it’s easy to get disillusioned when halfway through the year you feel like you still have a long way to go. It is better to create a series of small goals that you can achieve in, say, three months, because you will reach them sooner and you are less likely to be beaten by too little progress.
Time management expert Laura Vanderkam explained the benefits of this strategy when it comes to setting business goals. “You may have a lot of goals, and that’s a good thing. Giving yourself ninety days means you can focus on a few goals at once, knowing that another ninety days is ahead. Perhaps you focus on launching a new product during the first quarter. Then in the second quarter you focus on finding a new and larger space. At the end of six months, you have the new product and the larger space. If you wanted to achieve both goals at the same time, you might have lost the overview by now.”
Don’t waste time on what isn’t feasible
Sometimes, during the year, you find that some New Year’s resolutions don’t make sense. If the need for the intention is no longer there, don’t waste your time on it. Never put energy into things you can’t change, but focus on what can be done.