Have you ever set new year’s resolutions?
There is something very compelling about the beginning of the new year, isn’t it?
It’s an opportunity for a new, fresh start.
Somehow it feels a bit like a page one in a new notepad, clean and full of possibilities.
And because humans (for whatever reason) love these fresh starts, we often wait till the beginning of the week, month, or even a year to start with our goals.
Why setting New Year’s Resolutions
Clean beginnings often make us take our goals and attempts more seriously. For that reason, a new year is a fantastic opportunity to set some new goals, resolutions, or habits and get a bit more serious and intentional with our life, health, job, business, relationships, you name it.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who set New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to actually change their behaviour than people who don’t make these yearly goals.
So if you’ve been thinking about setting some goals and new year’s resolutions, do it.
Why do you keep failing with new year’s resolutions?
I know this may feel a little on the chin, but let’s be honest, if you were crushing it year after year, you would not be here reading this article.
There’s no shame in trying and wanting to improve. I commend you for that.
Sometimes we just fail. It’s part of the game. The only way to not fail is to not try (which is also a guaranteed way to never improve).
But it’s good to understand why things didn’t work out in the past.
So, if you do a quick reflection, why do you think you did not stick with your new year’s resolutions in the past?
Was it because:
- The goals were unrealistic?
- You didn’t have a plan?
- You didn’t want them badly enough?
- There was nothing to lose if you quit… apart from not having the result?
- You did not commit fully to the goals?
- You had no one holding you accountable?
- Quitting was simply too easy?
These are some of the most common reasons why people don’t stick with their new year’s resolutions, habits and goals.
Did you go ‘YEP’ when you read some of the reasons on the list?
Great, now you know what you need to focus on and improve this time.
(If you think none of the items on the list may be the reason for your “failure”, then I recommend reading the list again with a bit more honesty… come on, it’s just for you. Nobody’s going to know).
Key principles for setting new years resolutions
Below, I’ll share with you a few principles you want to keep in mind if you want to stick with your new year’s resolutions. You’ve probably seen these before. Well, if you have and you’re not getting the results you want, then you’re probably not following them. Knowing and not applying is like not knowing at all. 🙂
Keep it possible
I know it can be exciting to go wild with your goals list. Every other guru will tell you “Set Audacious Goals”! Yes, but the more complex and extensive you make it, the less likely you’ll stick with it. There is a sweet spot between challenging/exciting and possible/boring. When people realise that their goals are impossible, they tend to quit altogether. Set achievable goals.
It’s some extra that will require some extra.
Whatever your new year’s resolutions may be, it surely requires some change in how you do things.
If you want something extra (pay rise, be fitter, start a business), you need to be prepared and willing to do something extra for it, put in extra time, effort, energy, sacrifice etc. Don’t expect to change things by staying the same.
You’ve got to immerse yourself in it.
The more you immerse yourself in your goals, the better you’ll do. In my Unbreakable Self-Discipline Bootcamp, I call this “Total Immersion”. For example, if you want to get fitter, immerse yourself in the world of fitness. Listen to podcasts, watch youtube videos where people talk about it, try recipes, connect with people or communities about fitness. The more you make it a part of your life, the more likely you’ll stick with it.
Success is in the process.
People often obsess over goals and results, where in reality, success is in the process.
You’ve heard the sayings like: It’s about the journey, not the destination.
Well, as cliche and cringy it may be, it’s true.
What that means, though, is to find a way to enjoy the process of working on your goals. The joy of achieving goals is very short-lived. Trust me, I know this very well. So putting weeks and months into working on something for a moment of happiness is just not worth it.
Set your new year resolutions for the right reasons
If you’re setting goals that you want to achieve this year, then make sure you’re setting goals YOU want to achieve and care about.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of setting certain goals just because other people are doing so.
If you don’t care about the goals or don’t really want them, you’ll quit because when it becomes difficult, you’ll go: Well, I don’t really care anyway.
Self-discipline is superpower
Self-discipline is a superpower that separates those who succeed and those who fail.
Self-discipline is a skill that anyone can learn and with some practice master.
If you’d like to improve your self-discipline, check out this article I’ve written about it, or if you’re serious, you can join my Unbreakable Self-Discipline Bootcamp.
It’s about getting back up.
Once you start working on your goals, there will be days when you fall off track. It may be because life threw you a curveball, and you were not able to follow through, or you just simply did not have it in you that day.
That’s fine. That happens to everybody. The most unnecessary mistake people make is that they then go: Oh well, that’s it. I’m a failure, and it’s over.
No, no, no!
You slipped. You slip back on.
You fell off. You bounce back on.
If you’ve missed a day or a few, just get back on track and continue.
Imagine you want to work out 100 times in 2022.
But for a mixture of reasons, you could do only 80 workouts in the whole year.
Don’t you think 80 workouts would make a difference to your health? Yeah!
But what if you missed a workout a couple of times in February and you decide to throw in the towel. Then you’ll end up with just ten workouts. That’s 70 workouts difference!
Just get back on track. No one is watching. No one cares.
(Unless you’re working with me… haha. I’ll care, and I will watch!)
How to set new years resolutions so you stick with them
Ok, let’s get practical.
You’ve probably heard about SMART goals. I’m not going to cover that because the internet is bursting with how to use SMART goals.
Below I’ll share the framework I use when I’m setting my own new year’s resolutions and goals in general. If you’ve seen the annual goals lists I share on my website (check it out here), you know that this framework works pretty well. I’m not 100% on all goals, but certainly not underachieving.
Here is my process.
Start with macro groups.
Rather than jumping into scheduling specific goals, I recommend to “zoom-out” and identifying the key areas of your life. These may be health, fitness, relationships, business, hobbies, personal growth, parenting, family, finances, etc. I call these macro groups.
When you’re done, look at the areas and scores again and decide which ones you’d like to improve this year. You can give each one a score on a scale from 0-10 based on how happy, satisfied, or fulfilled you’re in each of these areas. 0 = not at all, 10 = it’s amazing!
Identify your goals
Now it’s time to set some specific goals.
Look at the areas you want to work on and ask yourself:
What would I love to improve or achieve in this area?
It may be more than one thing, and that’s totally ok.
Just make sure you keep the number of goals and the “magnitude” realistic.
As mentioned earlier, if you set unrealistic goals, you’ll soon become demotivated, and you’ll quit.
It must be possible, but it should be challenging.
1) As specific as possible. Make the goals measurable: Weigh 80kg, Make 100 sales calls, Take wife on a date twice a month, etc.
2) Specify the time frame: By July, every week, by the end of the year, etc.
This should be straightforward, but ask me below if you have any questions.
Identify the process (goals)
If achieving your new year’s resolutions will require you to keep up certain activities, make sure you’re clear on that as well. I call these the process goals.
What do you need to be doing, and how often to reach your goal?
Example: To weigh 80kg by July, I need to work out 3x per week and stick to my diet 6x a week.
Ramp up your motivation
Somehow, people often skip this step and wonder why they don’t feel motivated.
Look at the goals you’ve set (such as I’ll weigh 80kg by July 2022) and ask yourself WHY you want that.
Don’t just gloss over this. If you answer, I just want to be fitter to look better.
That’s a lazy response, and it will only result in a lazy approach.
WHY? WHY do you want that. Dig deep into your soul and be brutally honest with yourself.
No one will see this. No one will know. But you need to dig out some really good reason why you want to put months of work in the gym and dieting into getting fitter because if you don’t, you’ll quit.
So look at your goal, read it and complete these sentences:
I want to (GOAL) because then (what BENEFIT will it bring?), and also (another BENEFIT), and on top of that (another BENEFIT).
Deep inside, it will make me feel (HOW) about myself.
It will also positively impact my personal life because (HOW).
Moreover, it will positively impact my professional life because (HOW).
Finally, add this: If I quit and don’t achieve this goal, the impact of it will be (WHAT).
The more you expand on these reasons, the better and the more motivation you’ll have.
It may not be the kind of “OMG, I can’t wait to get started” motivation, but you sure will understand the importance of achieving your goals and building new habits.
Keep track of your progress.
Next, make sure you keep track of your progress.
If you prefer pen and paper, you can use a journal or create a tracker or a calendar that you stick on the wall somewhere where you can see it every day.
If you prefer digital (like I do), google sheet or excel sheet works really well. There are also plenty of various mobile apps you can use for tracking.
Make sure that this tracking is not adding too much friction. Tracking should be quick and easy. The purpose is for you to keep an eye on your progress and consistency.
You can also check my article where I share my Consistency Calendar, a tool I’ve created for myself.
Accountability is one of the best tools to help you stay consistent, especially when you don’t feel like it or even think of quitting.
Get yourself an accountability buddy, or hire a coach who will hold you accountable.
So coaches may keep you accountable from session to session, which is not always sufficient.
I believe in daily accountability, and that’s what I provide for my clients (if they want it). From my experience, the benefits are exponential because it helps people pick up really good momentum.
And just so you know how much I believe in it, I have daily accountability with my accountability buddy as well where we message each other EVERY DAY the list of tasks we want to get done and later an update about what got done and, sometimes, what didn’t and why (we have to explain). I don’t do it because I need it (I’m super disciplined), but I do it because I want it. It gives me the extra push I like.
So get yourself an accountability buddy or a coach.
Be ready to bounce back.
Look, it’s not going to go great all the time. After the honeymoon period, it will become a bit of a drag and much more difficult to keep going. And at some point, for one reason or another, you will fall behind, or you won’t be able to get your thing done. I’m trying to say that you may not be 100% on track all the time.
And this is where most people quit. They fell off the wagon, and now they want to throw in the towel.
NO, NO, NO!
You don’t quit. You bounce back!
So you lost a few days, or you won’t hit the goal 100%. So what?
You can hit maybe 85% of the goal if you bounce back.
If you don’t bounce back, you won’t reach even that!
Don’t be a sissy. Dust yourself off, and get back on track.
So I want you to be ready for this eventuality.
Think about this: What will help you get back on track when you reach the quitting point?
Do you need to speak to someone?
Watch Rocky movie?
Review your list of reasons and WHYs?
Have your bounce-back plan ready!
Celebrate every little win and milestone
This is crucial. Don’t make the mistake of waiting with celebrations and feeling great until you actually reach your goal. That is a guaranteed way to feel miserable all along.
Plus, the result doesn’t usually feel as amazing as we imagine. That’s just how it is.
So celebrate every little win.
Ideally, break your goal into several milestones. These can be monthly, weekly, or even daily targets.
When you hit them, do a little dance, sit back and bask in that win for a bit, soak it in!
This is what achieving goals is about. The joy of making progress and appreciating who you’re being to make this progress. That feels great!
Before you start setting your new year’s resolutions
Whatever your 2022 goals may be, whatever you want to achieve, first and foremost understand that the change really happens in YOU, in your mind, in your behaviour. Something needs to shift.
When you aim to change your behaviour that will result in lasting change.
This new behaviour will then become a habit, a way you do things and that will much more likely result in success that goes beyond your own goals.
Losing weight is about changing the way you think about food and exercising, your relationship with it. That will lead you to establish, enjoy, and keep healthy habits and eliminate unhealthy behaviours.
Getting up early in the morning is about changing the way you think about productivity, time, starting the day right.
When you change the way you think and behave in a way that allows and encourages you to reach your goals, that is the outcome you want. That is the actual success.
Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions.
Let me know in the comment if you found this valuable or if you have any questions.
Alternatively, if you’d want to get my help and kick butt in 2022, let’s have a chat and discuss what could be possible.