Making Your New Year's Resolution Stick
New Year’s resolutions are popular to make fun of especially in the fitness industry. This is mainly because they never pan out. However, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a change you feel will improve the quality of your life and there is something unique about a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. What many people who try, and fail to succeed at their New Year’s resolution, do not understand is that making resolutions, aka goal setting, is a skill. Once you learn what goes into creating a goal or resolution, you can take the steps necessary to make your resolution stick for good this year.
The first step in the goal setting process is picking an outcome. This is where people begin and end the goal setting process. Losing 50lbs is an outcome, quitting smoking is an outcome, having a million dollars in your bank account is an outcome. It is necessary to have a clear picture of your outcome. The acronym SMART is often used for determining your outcome. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Once you have picked a SMART outcome it is time to write it down.
Having a clear picture of your desired outcome and having it physically written down is important. Get it on paper an out of your head. Do you know what the difference is between a goal and a dream? A goal is written down and has a process, a dream never leaves your head or moves past an outcome.
The biggest mistake people make with resolutions is stopping at choosing an outcome. We come up with a brilliant, SMART, desired outcome and then … nothing. No more thought is given as to how it will be accomplished. Pretty soon your New Year’s resolution is gone like last year’s, and the year before that. What these outcome goals lack is a process. What are you going to DO to achieve your desired outcome at the end of the year?
You need to break your outcome into process goals. What are the skills and behaviors necessary for you to achieve your desired outcome? If you have a clearly defined outcome what are the steps that you must take? If you don’t have a clue what the process looks like for your desired outcome, find a coach or mentor to guide you. Whether it’s fitness, business, finance or relationships finding a coach to help you with your process will be the shortest path toward accomplishing your desired outcome goal. Draw from the experience and education of someone who has walked the path before you and helped other people like you.
Once you know what that process looks like you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Don’t worry. It would be ill advised to attempt to implement this process all at once. Identify which step is the first and then put your energy into consistently doing that day in and day out before taking on your next step. Research has shown that people who focus on making one specific change are at least 80% successful. That number drops significantly when you add in another change. Just like the Bill Murray movie “What about Bob?” Baby-steps. Being extreme and completely overhauling your lifestyle is not the way to make a lasting change. Give yourself some time to accomplish your outcome, most people drastically over estimate what they can accomplish in a week and grossly underestimate what they can accomplish over the course of a year.
Pick a SMART outcome, find a process, and break it down into baby-steps, a year from now when you look back you will be shocked at how far you’ve come and that you actually stuck to your New Year’s resolution.