Do they meet your expectations?
The New Year is a time that many people look back over the past year and review what they have or haven’t achieved. How many resolutions that you made at the beginning of 2015 have you achieved?
Thoughts then turn to the year ahead and many people make New Year Resolutions, a promise to themselves to change something within their lives. Most resolutions focus on health, well being, money and career, but research from Bristol university in 2007 showed that 88% of New Year resolutions failed and others say that figure can be as high as 99%. Many people also make the same resolution year after year, despite giving up on the resolution last year. For example gyms are packed the first couple of weeks in January but by February space returns!
At the end of 2016 do you want to look back and see that you have achieved what you wanted to this year?
Why New Year resolutions fail:
- The resolution comes from what doesn’t work or isn’t working for you.
- The resolution comes from a place of should. ‘I should give up smoking.’
- You are influenced by what you think others are thinking about you: ‘My friends think I am overweight’.
- The resolution is unspecific and immeasurable. ‘I want to exercise more.’
- Lack of support.
Lack of real desire to change.
- Lack of belief in yourself and your ability.
It takes time to change a habit. Initially, change comes from conscious action and needs to be repeated many times before becoming subconscious, but many people have given up before then. Research suggests it takes between 21 and 90 days to change a habit depending on how ingrained it is.
Making New Year Resolutions that work
- New Years resolutions are about what you want to improve or change. If the ‘want’ comes from your heart rather than your head you are more likely to succeed as you are not being ruled by the voice that keeps you stuck in the past, worrying about the future or limiting your beliefs in yourself.
- Take time to pause and take your awareness to your body and emotions. If negative thoughts or judgments enter your mind, acknowledge them and return your awareness to your body and emotions.
- Visualize the outcome that you want to achieve, as if you have already achieved it. For example see yourself out running or walking and feel how good your body feels and looks and what more you can do now that you are fitter. Have the outcome in the visualization be achievable in a given time frame, such as 3 months, and have it be measurable such as ‘lose 10 pounds’.
- Look at the first action step you need to make to start the journey towards your goal. This may be as small as finding a gym, buying a pair of walking shoes, or looking at some healthy recipes. Then concentrate on the next step and then the next as focusing on the end goal can be overwhelming and then resistance sets in.
- Share your resolution with a friend, family member, or get a Coach as success is more likely if you feel accountable to someone. Success is even more likely if you get support by doing an activity with someone.
- Keep a journal so that you can see that you are making progress however slow it seems to you. We often underestimate what we have achieved.
Resolutions should not just be for the New Year. We should be looking at what we want right now on a daily basis and then taking small action steps towards it. This way joyfulness and success is much more likely. Enjoy!
By Pam Lob