Year on year millions of people forego their resolution. Why?
Every year you will be repeatedly asked to share your resolution for the coming year. But beware the scolding that comes if you don’t have a resolution to offer.
There is a standard new years routine. Drink a lot. Watch the fireworks. Share your resolution with friends and family.
For many people a new years resolution is important, yet despite the importance on the night, once the new year begins the resolution slips.
Is it because they devised their new years resolution in order to get people off their back?
Is it because they didn’t truly care about the resolution that they had set?
Or is it because they didn’t really have a good system for setting a new years resolution?
Start With Your Vision
A lot of new years resolutions start with a vision and stop there.
This year I want to… lose weight, give up smoking, get fit, find a new job, find a life partner, drink less, socialize more and of course learn Spanish!
These statements provide a vision of where people want to be in the future. But the vision statements don’t provide a road-map for getting there or a reason to get there at all.
Get Into The Why
If you want follow through on your new years resolution find a good reason to do so.
It sounds simple, but a lot of resolutions are set without truly caring about the outcome. This is part of the reason why a lot of resolutions go unfulfilled but its not the full story.
Do you care about your resolution?
If you don’t really care then the vision may not be right for you. Or maybe you haven’t really dived into the dissatisfaction of your current situation. A better question maybe…
How dissatisfied are you with your current situation?
A mentor of mine has reminded me over and over that the recipe for change goes as follows:
What this means, firstly, is that there is always resistance to change. Resistance happens mentally in the form of procrastination, it happens emotionally and it happens physically. Humans don’t like change.
If you are to overcome the resistance that naturally occurs you need to put a few things in place.
You need to be dissatisfied. If your vision is to learn Spanish, how dissatisfied are you that you can’t speak it now?
Your dissatisfaction is what is going to drive you forward. Its the why, the reason your vision should be fulfilled.
If you have established a high level of dissatisfaction, then you have good foundation. But, there is still more if you want to achieve your vision for the year.
Set Your Resolution Around The How
Once you have a vision in place and a high level of dissatisfaction, the best way to set your new years resolution is to craft the resolution with the steps you are going take to get to your vision.
For example, if your current new years resolution is to get fit. Instead, re-frame that resolution to: I am going to work out four times a week, every week for the year.
This is a much better resolution because it provides a clear road-map of how you are going to achieve your vision.
Remember the recipe for change includes the road-map, so if you can’t find a clear path to walk you are not going to overcome the resistance to change.
Set the words of your resolution around the doing, not around the vision.
Another example, if you current resolution is to learn Spanish, then re-frame this into an action plan. The new resolution could be “I am going to spend 20 minutes a day practicing Spanish” or “my resolution is to find a Spanish school and enroll”.
If you set your resolution around the actions steps you stand a much better change for overcoming resistance in the recipe for change.
Find A Trigger Cue
Once you have a vision, a high level of dissatisfaction and a good action based resolution, you need to find a trigger.
Something that will help you to remember to do the action that you have set for yourself. In the ‘get fit’ example, the action was to workout four times a week, a good trigger would be to set the alarm half an hour early on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Then when the alarm goes off the trigger will set the action in motion.
If your resolution is to practice Spanish for 20 minutes a day, the trigger could be coming home from work. The moment you walk in the door, put your keys down, sit down at your desk and start to practice.
Find something that you already do to use as a trigger to start the action you have set yourself.
Find A Reward
Saving the best til last. And the last piece of the puzzle. You need to reward yourself for achieving the action you have set.
A little care needs to be taken when you set your reward. For example, a fitness goal with a reward in the form of food could reverse the hard work.
If you manage to get home and do your 20 minutes of practice, celebrate and enjoy the work you have put in. Maybe it’s watching your favorite TV show, or watching a movie. Find something that you can look forward to once the Spanish practice is done.
In summary, you have found a vision for yourself and a high level of dissatisfaction. You have set an action based resolution. You have found some triggers that will remind you to take action on a regular basis. And you have set a good reward for the good work you are going to put in.
If you put all the things in place you will stand a much better chance of following through. Good luck and have fun in the new year!