The Secret to Keeping New Year Resolutions… and Other Goals

Many of us do it.  Yup… we make new year resolutions.  But then… we drop them. So why do we keep setting them every January?  I am not sure about other folks, but I do it because I believe that the act of setting a resolution makes me a better person, even if I am not successful sticking with them. You see… any effort to become more self-aware is positive.

New year resolutions have always interested me. I have been reading a lot about how people help themselves be more successful when setting and keeping resolutions. Then it occurred to me… many of the recommendations were consistent across the resources I found. What I saw across the board was not solely tips to keeping new year resolutions, but rather solid practices for reaching any goal (business or personal) at any time of year! Jackpot!

Armed with this new inspiration, I need to share a snapshot of what I walked away with from this research:

  • Keep the Resolution/Goal Top of Mind Around the Calendar. Keep reminding yourself of your goals.  This could mean a repeating reminder in your iPhone, or simply a sticky on your bathroom mirror.
  • Create a Habit. The saying goes… it takes 21 times to solidify a change of behavior. If you can make a concerted effort over 3 short weeks, no matter how small the activity, you will find a change in yourself. For instance, if you want to improve your relationships, make a daily connection to people you want to get closer to.
  • Believe in Your Goal. To be successful, you need to feel jazzed up about your goal. It is far harder to achieve something that is hanging over your head because it seems like you probably should do it.
  • Write it Down. By writing your goal down, you are committing to it.  Research shows that people who have written marketing plans achieve them 85% more often than those who don’t write it down.
  • Share it with Others. Tell someone about your goal. By letting someone in on your goals, you are creating your own source of accountability.
  • Partner Up. Do you know others who have similar goals?  Work together to achieve them. Mutual support, even if it’s simply moral support, pushes you further towards success.
  • Track Your Progress. Knowing where you want to get is important, but knowing how you got there is where the fun comes in. Create frequent check-ins for yourself. Always pat yourself on the back for what you accomplish, and then strategize on how you will get further along for your next check in.

Resolutions can get a bad reputation because they often get left behind before the month has expired.  It doesn’t need to be this way!  Try some of these tips that I have gathered from a bevy of resources and my personal experience.  I think you will start to see your perspective, and success rate, change!