The Secret to Crushing Your New Year Resolutions
At church last week my Pastor asked the congregation to raise hands if you made a New Years resolution and then he asked for a show of hands if you didn’t. I was shocked when only myself and three other people raised their hands for resolutions made. He wasn’t. He explained that many people don’t make resolutions because their past failure rate is high so they don’t even bother. Apparently statistics show that before February 80% of people have already given up on their resolutions. I was shocked!!!
But maybe you can relate?
”Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth 'thrown in': aim at Earth and you will get neither.”
I always make New Year Resolutions and I always make progress toward them. I’m a firm believer that you can’t even get close if you never try.
I started wondering then what is it that keeps people from reaching their goals and what makes my experience so different? I had to know if there was something I could do to help.
Here is where I think a little shift can make all the difference:
Don’t Rely On Willpower
At the beginning of a new year or a new chapter there is a sense of hope, possibility and even promise in the air - it’s so evident you can almost feel it. But if we rely only on that emotion alone to fuel our progress toward our goals it won’t sustain us to the finish line. Why? because that emotion doesn’t last. The first time something gets in the way (as it always will) our forward motion gets interrupted and we can easily be derailed from our path right there. This is particularly true when there is no strategy, or plan backing up our excitement.
Willpower or excitement alone will never successfully fuel a long term goal but it does propel us into motion and that is important. It’s even an asset when used to our advantage by coupling it with a good plan of action. So allow yourself to feel excitement and use that inertia to drive you forward when you start, just know that you will need a strategy to kick in when the initial fire starts to die down.
Create a Solid Plan
Almost nothing ever comes to fruition without a solid plan. If it does, it’s most likely an outlier or a fluke. If you want to reach a goal you need a strategy and plan of action to get there. It doesn’t need to be elaborate but it does need to be in place and it needs to be followed.
But before you get started implementing that plan you need to know that an initial strategy is never perfect when you begin, so don’t quit if you don’t succeed the first time around. For instance, if you have a plan to increase revenues in your business that requires more clients you will need to strategically work at getting in front of more prospects. You worked out a plan that you need to talk to 10 potential clients a week to move the needle to where you want it to be but as life goes in week 2 something comes up and you only reach 5. Don’t be discouraged! 5 more contacts than you had previously been reaching is movement toward your goal. Don’t discount it when you don’t score 100% but continuously work at getting closer and closer to your goal. That is strategy in action and it’s never perfect when anyone starts.Understand that going in and you will be less likely to quit early on.
Make Your Plan a Habit
Your plan will become so much more effective if you continue to work at it long enough for it to become a habit. Once you are habitually taking action toward your goals is when things really begin to take shape. That’s why it’s so important to keep going even when you don’t meet every action step every time. The more you do it, perfect or not, the less you will need to think about it and that’s where the magic happens.
Think about it, you brush your teeth every morning without realizing it. It doesn’t take effort to get yourself motivated to brush your teeth, you just do it and as a result you have much better oral health than you would if you didn’t. That is an actionable plan that has been made into a habit.
If you are like most people and quit two weeks in you don’t have a chance to make anything a habit. You need to keep practicing for at least 30 days consistently. This is why I believe in 90 day goals. Do it for 90 days and fail your way through if you need to. By the end of 90 days you will at least be used to putting in the effort. Then you can adjust your technique and really see those results solidify!
This is where the secret sauce is! Understanding that our initial plan may need some tweaking and taking time to reevaluate is the key to making a good strategy a great one. You won’t work a plan that doesn’t work for you so at the beginning of each quarter take a little time to check in and see how things are working. What can you do better? How can you tweak things to make that happen? What is going really well? How can you celebrate your progress and solidify those changes in your life? Then make those needed adjustments and continue to work the new plan.
Remember, this is a new YEAR resolution. It’s not supposed to be accomplished immediately. Keep honing it and making your plan better as you go not only will it make you more successful but it makes it more fun as you see your efforts improving!
Extend Your Time Frame If Needed
If we look at the statistics of how many people ditch their initial resolutions after the first month of the year you have to give yourself credit for working at your goals longer than that. In February you are already ahead of 80% of folks! You have already joined the super minority so congratulations! If you have set a strategy and worked it, evaluated it and tweaked it and you get to the end of the year and haven’t quite reached it - it’s ok! Just keep going! The worst thing you can do now is quit. Sometimes our goals take longer than we initially thought. So what?! The longer you work, reevaluate and continue toward them the closer you are getting to eventually accomplishing them. There is no shame in something taking longer than you expected. You still cross the finish line!
So what do you think? Will you keep plugging away?
I’m going after some specific goals myself this year and I’ll be doing all of the things above. I’ll be checking back in with you periodically this year to keep us both on track so share your progress with me!
I also have been reading an amazing book that I think you will find a valuable resource to help you on your Journey. It’s called Finish! Give yourself the gift of done by Jon Acuff. If you are interested in getting your own copy I snagged mine from Amazon and you can too. Here’s the link for ya!
If you read it let me know what you thought!
With just a few tweaks to your new year resolution plan you can change the course of this year - I know you can do it!
Peace & Blessings,