02 February 2014 ~ 1 Comment

Want a Re-do on your 2014 Resolutions?

3 Tips on Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick This Time!

It’s February.  How many resolutions have broken, given up on, or just plain lost interest in?  Be honest.  If you’re like most people, about this time of the year you just want to forget about those resolutions already.  You’re probably wondering why do I make them again?  Or maybe you’re one of those people that never make resolutions (at least not anymore).  Maybe they seem futile after failing at them year after year.  Okay, so here’s the good news:  all is not lost, you can succeed at resolutions, and I give you permission for a Resolution Re-do!  Furthermore I’m going to show you three resolution making techniques that will make it much easier for you to keep and be successful at your chosen goals.  Are you ready?

I find with most people there are three concepts that they apply (unconsciously) to their New Year’s resolutions that almost guarantee resolution doom, as opposed to ensuring their success.  By altering the way you think about these concepts – consciously, you have a much better likely hood of resolution success and a successful New Year.  So what are these three stumbling blocks, you ask?  Here they are:

  • Timetable for your resolutions
  • Scope of your goals
  • Mentality regarding your resolutions

I’ll delve into each of these concepts in a second, but before I do, I want to be clear about something.  In writing this article, I’m assuming you really do want to better certain areas of your life and hit certain goals to make your life more successful, happier, and and achieve Maximum Personal Growth.  I’m also assuming you set your New Year’s resolutions with these goals in mind.  If you just make resolutions because it’s the thing to do with no hope or expectation of success, then this article will probably not help you much, if at all.  With that being said, let’s look at each potential roadblock, and how to fix it.

Roadblock #1 – Your Timetable is Too Long!

The first area I see people getting tripped up on is their timetable.  Here’s what I mean.  You set a resolution for yourself, that you must follow for the ENTIRE YEAR!  Wow, that’s a pretty big commitment!  What if it doesn’t work out?  What if I slip up on week two, or three, or nine?  What if I just don’t like the resolution after following it for awhile, or think it needs to be tweaked a bit?  One way to help deal with this  very common “full year resolution syndrome” is by thinking of resolutions as a work in progress, goals if you will, with much shorter time frames.  You only break off as much as you can chew, so to speak.

For this article, let’s use the example (that I’m sure no one has ever picked for themselves) of working out, or finally getting into shape this year!  Let’s assume you could really benefit from hitting the gym, and it’s been months or years since you’ve last worked out – or maybe never.  You’re an intelligent person and realize all of the benefits of physical exercise, yet somehow haven’t really committed to it.  But this is the year, you tell yourself (for the third year in a row)!  You therefore make this resolution:

I am going to join a gym and start working out.  I will go a minimum of 4 times a week.  On each visit I will do a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of cardio, and 20 – 30 minutes of strength training, for a total of 40 – 60 minutes of working out, 4 times a week.

Okay, sounds good, right?  I mean you have a beneficial goal.  It sounds reasonable.  Heck, you’ve even given yourself some flexibility with the length of your workouts so that you’re sure you can fit them in, even if you’re fairly busy that day.  So you start.  What could go wrong?  Well how about week three comes along and you’re struck with the flu.  It’s pretty bad.  You miss 3 – 4 days of work and of course you’re not working out.  When it’s finally over, you still feel a little weak, so best to take a few more days off of working out, maybe a week to be safe.  You know how this story ends…

Or maybe after the third workout, you’re so sore (which of course you didn’t anticipate), you have to miss a workout.  When you are ready to go back, something happens at work so you have to stay late and you miss the next work out as well.  Different story, same ending.  And there are a hundred or more “different stories” all with the same ending.

Here’s how we fix it.  Make the timetable for the resolution much shorter.  Say one month.  Eventually you can do quarterly resolutions, or monthly and quarterly goals together, but for now let’s stick to a month at a time.  Give yourself a little flexibility as well, so that as life happens, you won’t consider yourself a failure if you have to alter the goal a bit – for that month.  In our example, keeping in mind you really haven’t worked out in a long time, your January resolution could simply be:

I will join a gym.  The first week I will go 2 to 3 times to learn about the various equipment, pick the brains of some of the trainers or more seasoned members, and formulate my plan of attack.  Starting in week 2, I commit to physically going to the gym 3 times a week.  My goal is to establish a healthy habit and routine.  By the end of the month I will have a much better idea of which areas I need to focus on and approximately how much time I will need to commit in terms of minutes/days at the gym.  By February I’ll have a much more defined plan of attack, with more specifics.

Here are several key points to notice.  In this example, I’m easing into something so that I’m not setting myself up for failure.  It requires a commitment, but it is not as daunting a goal.  And it’s for one month, at which point I reassess the goal for the next month.  I’ve only committed to 3 days a week, and even if I miss a day, I can still be on track for getting comfortable with it and coming up with a more detailed plan of attack in February.  I’m committing more to showing up than doing a specific workout or routine.  I’m just trying to build a habit of going.  Worst case scenario – if it never get’s started for one reason or another, I recommit to the goal again – in February, as opposed to next year!

  • Use monthly resolutions to achieve monthly goals.  A series of successful months will make a successful year.  Set yourself up for success, not failure, by defining bite-sized achievable goals, in realistic time frames, and execute your plan of attack.

 Roadblock #2 – The Scope of Your Goal is Too Big or Unrealistic!

I’m sure you would agree that a series of small successes will eventually add up over time.  A series of successful days make a successful week.  A series of successful weeks make a successful month, etc.  When setting our resolutions or goals, we not only want them defined by time frames that are achievable, but the goals themselves should be small enough to give success a realistic chance of happening.  Then we build one success upon another, and before long you have a series of successful goals that you’ve achieved, and you’re that much further down the road of success!

Looking back at our example of working out, can you see how that if you haven’t worked out for a long time, if ever, a goal of 4 days a week, combining cardio and strength training, for 40-60 minutes each workout, could be a little overwhelming?  For an experienced gym goer this is a walk in the park.  But for a newbie it can definitely be a daunting task!

Can you see how a commitment of showing up to the gym 3 times a week, familiarizing yourself with the equipment and possible routines, finding your comfort level, learning which times work best, and so forth, might seem more doable for your first month?  The main underlying goal being establishing a healthy habit while increasing your knowledge and comfort level at the gym.   It would be pretty hard to fail at this unless of course you really weren’t committed to working out in the first place.  Then you tackle a new – stepped up resolution for month two, and so on.  By having your time frames shortened and your goals small and realistic enough, you are allowing yourself to adjust and tweak them on a monthly basis, and give yourself a much better chance at having a successful month.  Remember, a series of successful months will lead to a year of Maximum Personal Growth.

  • Using realistic, bite sized achievable goals, will you the best opportunity for success in life.  Set yourself up for success, not failure.

Roadblock #3 – Your Mentality Regarding Your Resolutions

Truth be told, if you understand and fix the first two roadblocks, this will not be an issue.  But as I see and hear about it every year, I think this roadblock has become part of the DNA of New Year’s Resolutions, and needs to change.  The problem is this.  Each year we set resolutions.  Most of the time they are something we’re bound to slip up on, or fail at, during the days/weeks ahead.  So what do we always tell ourselves.  “Oh well, I tried. I least I made it till February this year,” or some version of this.  The mentality is that not only did you fail, but that’s okay because you’ll try again next year!  Does that make sense?  Well how many times have you made the same resolution, year after year.  If that’s the case, then this is exactly what you’re doing!  If you were successful at your resolution, you wouldn’t need to wail until next year.

Let me ask you this.  Assuming your resolution IS important to you, and you do want to be successful at it, why wait till next year?  Would you rather take the next 11 months off of exercising just because you failed in month one – only to try again next January?  (Don’t answer that!)  If it’s important, you’ll set a monthly goal.  You may need to tweak it or change it from month to month.  That’s okay.  Just as a ship makes continual adjustments to stay on course, so must you with your goals.  From now on you should no longer have yearly resolutions.  If you must, however – just have this one:  I resolve to have a successful year!  And now you know how to do it – one month at a time!

  • Going forward, set monthly, achievable goals to ensure a successful year.  Lose the “once a year resolution” mentality.

Here’s to a New Month!

Hopefully you’ve gained a little insight on how we set ourselves up for failure with our annual “New Year’s Resolution” tradition.  By turning the tables on this tradition and making it monthly instead of annually, your chances for success increase dramatically.  It should go without saying that this technique will work regardless of the nature of your goals/resolutions.  Be it personal, spiritual, business, etc., a series of small successes add up over time.  They WILL result in a successful year!  Let’s not get hung up on “January 1st.”  If need be, start formulating new goals/resolutions now in those areas important to you.  Then start working your plan this coming Monday, or February15th, or March 1st.  Do not WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!   Best of luck with this new plan of attack, and here’s to your next successful month!

One Response to “Want a Re-do on your 2014 Resolutions?”

  1. sosanimal.net 17 April 2014 at 1:36 am Permalink

    Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Carry on the fantastic work!

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