Stop Making Stupid Resolutions
Why 95% fail in less than 2 weeks, and how to make a resolution you will actually keep
Did you know that statistics consistently show that by January 15th, just 2 weeks into the promising new year, that 95% of people who made a New Year’s Resolution, have already broken it.
All those good intentions. All those promises to yourself. All those high hopes and aspirations…out the door with the wilted Christmas tree.
A depressing, or at least discouraging way to start off a new year. Don’t you think?
In fact, most people these days have completely given up on even making New Year’s resolutions because they are tired of disappointing themselves.
Nobody likes feeling like a failure.
So why then, is nearly everyone failing at keeping their New Year’s resolution, or just not making them at all anymore?
The answer is simple.
Everyone has been making the WRONG resolutions!
Well not everyone. Statistically, 5% of the people are getting it right.
And those 5% are enjoying a better life every year. They may not be living a perfect life without any challenges or setbacks. In fact, I can guarantee that is not the case! But they are enjoying a better life each year because they are doing something different each year – something they have determined will add value to their lives. In whatever way, big or small, they are making progress.
And as one of my life coach mentors Tony Robbins always says, “The secret to real happiness is progress”.
And that is what I want for you. It’s what I want for myself!
Progress is anything that adds value to our life – be it your personal life, your professional life, your personality or character, or simply your state of mind.
And progress is actually EASY to achieve.
Resolutions are actually EASY to keep. But first, you must know how to make them.
To begin, let’s talk about what NOT to do:
1. Stop making resolutions you know you have no intention of keeping!
That means, stop making resolutions based on what you think you should or should not do. That includes making resolutions for other people – your spouse, your kids, anyone other than yourself.
If you love drinking coffee but you keep hearing that coffee is bad for you, resolving to give up coffee is a stupid idea. Yes, some ideas are just stupid, sorry. Unless coffee is actually negatively effecting your health and/or you have existing conditions that are exacerbated by coffee (your not sleeping well, your crashing in the middle of the day, you have digestion issues or acid reflux, you have high blood sugar, you can’t focus and often experience anxiety, you notice increased heart rate and jitters throughout the day…), and/or you just don’t like coffee anymore, then resolving to give it up in the new year is not going to make you happy. Why? Because it’s not adding value to your life in any way. So, if it’s not adding value to your life and you’re not happy about it, then what’s your motivation to keep it going?
See how easy it is one week in to just say, “Screw this, I’m having a cup of coffee!”
On the other hand, if you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, you’ve done your research, and you have decided for yourself that you would really like to give up coffee for physical or mental reasons, then you are much more likely to join the 5% who actually stick to their resolution. Why? Because abstaining from coffee is actually adding value to your every day life now that you are no longer experiencing those uncomfortable symptoms. In this way, you are making progress in your health.
2. Stop making resolutions that are too big too keep.
That means, stop shooting for the moon before you’ve even reached the trees.
Saying you’re going to have better health in 2017 is okay, except it’s too abstract, too lofty. What does “better health” actually mean? How will you know you have better health? How do you plan to achieve better health? What will you use to measure your health against last year’s health.
Saying you are going to lose 100 pounds in 2017 is okay (assuming you’re not already 15o pounds); however, it’s too broad. And it’s the perfect example of shooting for the moon before you reach the trees, since you need to lose 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 pounds before you lose 100. Also, committing to 100 pounds can feel overwhelming. And when people are overwhelmed they look for comfort. Someone who is 100 pounds overweight will often seek comfort in food. This is too big of a resolution. But the 100 pound weight loss can actually be achieved if we approach the resolution in another way. Read on.
Now that you know what not to do, here’s is What To DO.
3. Make it one thing that you really want!
Something you can really get behind and focus on. Again, if giving up coffee doesn’t light you on fire and have you imagining blissful coffee-free days, then it’s not the resolution for you. Choose something that you can visualize adding value to your life…that inspires you, that might make you feel like a better person. Choose something that you can get at excited about.
4.Make it something you ADD, not subtract.
I know this is contrary to what most people think because they are so used to giving up something – cigarettes, alcohol, salt, sugar, etc. But I have found that people have much more success when they focus on what they are actually adding to their lives, as opposed to what they are giving up.
So instead of resolving to give up chocolate, as a way to be healthier, you could resolve to add one more serving of vegetables to your lunch or dinner every day. If you’re someone who doesn’t even eat vegetables, this one little step could make all the difference in getting important nutrients into your body and making you feel healthier, possibly even dropping a few pounds, which might not have been the case if you chose to give up chocolate and feel as if you were depriving yourself.
5. Make it small and manageable.
It’s not that we are selling ourselves short here. It’s that we are setting ourselves up to succeed. Success motivates us to keep going. And small resolutions, once maintained, easily turn into bigger resolutions.
6. Make it specific.
Instead of resolving to “get in better shape” or to “lose 100 pounds”, resolve to walk one mile every day after work.
After a few weeks of walking one mile every day, you might naturally being walking 2 or 3 miles. And in a few months you will probably feel so good that you’re motivated to join a gym or work out with a trainer.
Small resolutions, once maintained, easily turn in to bigger resolutions.
7. Make it something you do every day.
Or at least almost every day. In my opinion this is one of the most important steps to succeeding at a new resolution or goal, because the things you do every day become habits. And your habits – the things you do, the ways in which you think and behave – are the things that add, or subtract, value from your lives.
When you are adding value to your life, you are making progress. And remember what Tony says. “The secret to real happiness is progress.”
As a coach, I work with clients on creating new habits. And we do it one step at a time, one habit at a time. With this approach, I have seen men and women of all backgrounds and ages, not only make huge progress in their health and fitness levels, but in all aspects of their lives simply by creating and practicing new habits on a daily basis.
And that is how I suggest you approach this year’s resolution.
Make it something you really want.
Make it something you add, not subtract.
Make it small.
Make it specific.
Do it every day.
So, do you have any ideas yet? I’d love to hear them, so please post in the comments below.
Still not sure? Confused on what it is you actually want or need to make real progress? Send me an email.<
I’d love to help you!