Happy New Year’s to all our BH Blog readers out there, we hope your 2019 is off to a great start! Today, we are discussing something that only 6% of Americans follow through on….RESOLUTIONS.
So how did this whole tradition of “new year, new me” start anyway? Apparently, it originated over 4,000 years ago as a religious practice for the Babylonians. At the beginning of each year, they made promises of good deeds to their Gods in exchange for fruitful crops, which they celebrated in mid-March after planting was completed.
Fast forward a bit to 2019, and we now spend the last day of the year binge-drinking champagne, dressed in sequin clothing, ridiculous noisemakers in hand as we watch a 12,000 pound crystal covered ball drop from a 141 foot flagpole. Then, we wake up on the first and promise to NOT do any of the things we did the night before for an entire year.
While the New Year’s traditions have changed just a bit over the past 4,000 years (pretty much entirely), the idea of making promises to behave better has persisted. However, try as we might, there is a very small success rate of following through with New Year’s resolutions.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. All too often, we make resolutions that focus on outcome without ever changing our actual behavior. Hopefully after reading our tips for following through on resolutions, you’ve figured out not only what your goals are, but what your plan is to reach them.
When you begin a lifestyle change, prepare yourself mentally. Don’t just jump into a new life phase without some serious, in-depth self-reflection. Remember, New Year’s goals don’t need to happen over night, every day can be a step in the right direction.
WHY? What is the reason that you want to make a change in your life? Unless your goal comes from a place of deep self-motivation, it can be hard to follow through. Figure out what identity you want to build and focus on the type of person you want to be vs. the goal that you want to achieve.
Time to figure out what you actually want to improve on. Ever hear of SMART goals? Probably, but in case not, here’s what the are:
- Specific: Provide detail about what exactly the goal is that you want to achieve.
- Measurable: Set goals that are quantifiable in some way. How else will you know if you’ve been successful in the end?
- Attainable: Keep it in the realm of reality, but challenge yourself.
- Relevant: Choose a goal that you are motivated to achieve, something important to you.
- Timely: Give yourself a timeline. When will your goals be achieved both short and long term? Grab your calendar, chart it out!
Now that you figured out WHAT you want to do, you need to figure out HOW you will do it. You don’t reach a large goal by just stating what you want, you figure out what the changes are that you need to make. We recommend writing a task list. Literally, WRITE it down. Prioritize the tasks, decide on a timeline, and get specific with the details. Writing down your intentions helps you remember what exactly you are doing, and it will help clarify how exactly you can accomplish your goals.
Now that you have your goals and plans defined, share your intentions with someone. Having someone else aware of what you are doing will hold you accountable. Guilt can be a very good motivator! Also, they can be someone to offer support when you’re struggling to stay on track.
Remember how we wrote down what we wanted to achieve? Look at those goals and plans regularly. Check in with the big picture goals to make sure your intentions and your actions are aligned. If need be, adjust your course.
Now that you have set yourself up for success, get out there and make it happen! Build trust within yourself by sticking to your convictions. Do what is right, not what is easy. That is when you will see a change happen. Remember, change is a gradual process, and you want to aim for progress not perfection. Also, progress is NOT linear. When you fall off-track, get back on quickly. To err is human. There will always be setbacks, but it’s how you handle those obstacles that will determine your success.
Now that we’ve shared our goal-setting strategies, we wish you the best of luck in sticking to your convictions and reaching those 2019 goals! And if you fail, there’s always next year, right?