Did you meet all your resolutions in 2015?
To be honest, me neither!
But there was something I DID accomplish that I am super proud of. If you’ve been following my Facebook page you may know that I gave up french fries and soda for one week back on January 1st, on a dare from my son.
I found it not too entirely impossible that first week, so I decided I would try to extend my streak. Before I knew it, the days turned into weeks, which turned into many months. Here I stand 365 days later, and I can say I DID IT!
Sadly, 36% of resolution makers don’t make it past the end of January. Some don’t even make it through the first week. Here is my best advice that helped me make it the full 365 days.
3 Keys to Successful Resolutions
1. Don’t suck all the fun out of your life.
Starting a new habit or quitting an old one doesn’t have to be all about deprivation. If you set too many restrictions on yourself you’ll either become resentful or just give up entirely because your goal is just too far out of reach. Did I succeed at cutting out the fries and soda? Yes. Did I still eat cookies? Yes ma’am. After all, I couldn’t give up everything, could I? One or two quality goals are better than a laundry list of things you know you have little chance of accomplishing.
2. Set the stage to win.
Many people have no problem setting goals for themselves in the new year, but they fail at one crucial step. They don’t make any changes to their environment. If you are trying to get out of debt, but never track your budget, you’ll be less likely to succeed. If you are trying to lose weight, but continue to surround yourself with fatty food and people who party 24/7, you will be wasting precious energy trying to overcome that environment, rather than focusing getting closer to your goals.
What works for me is learning to replace my less than healthy environment with one that is more conducive to success. That means more meal planning and less drive thru-ing. You might try removing the junk food from your cupboards, organizing a walking club after work, signing up for a spin class, enrolling in an online challenge, or all of the above!
If we want successful resolutions, the right environment can help make or break our success, long after the novelty and good intentions of January’s resolutions have worn off.
3. Focus on the process, not just the results.
Sometimes we look so far ahead of ourselves focusing on the destination that we forget to plan the trip – or take a roadmap for that matter. Inherent in a result goal (losing 10 pounds this year) is the idea that we are “not there yet”. This leaves us feeling defeated when we don’t reach it by our self-imposed deadlines.
Focusing on a process goal (hold the fries, please) instead helps eliminate the stress of that looming deadline, as we arm ourselves with the action steps we can take daily to get there. The routines we use to complete those action steps are the discipline, the steps, and the habits that set the stage for the end goal to happen.
The thing about resolutions is that we know how to start, we just have trouble with the finish.
Really, there isn’t really anything special about January 1st. It’s not some magical day that helps us meet goals any better than the other days of the year. That said, it’s pretty cool that we have a holiday that encourages us to make positive changes to our lives, don’t you think?
Hopefully you can use some of what helped me last year to make your resolutions stick!
To your success and beyond,