The Good News
New Year is by far the best time for resolutions, phycologists believe that resolutions made in the new year have 40% more chance of being continued even after 6 months than resolutions made at any other time of the year and January 1, 2020, is the 1st day of the decade.
The Bad News
Although it’s the best time of the year to start something new and productive, it does fail. That is why you see a lot of people in the Gym during January but most of them fail by March. According to research only 5 to 8% of people stick with their resolutions till the year-end.
Now, there are solid reasons why so many people fail to keep up or fall back to their comfort zone even though they were totally determined to change on day one. Let’s Explore!
1. Making big changes
Yes, this is the number 1 reason why most of the resolutions fail. People think they have to make big changes in their life to see the outcome they want. Say for example, if someone makes a resolution that he will run a marathon this year and from day one he starts pushing himself do a run of 5 kilometers for that sounds like a good goal. He may do it in the beginning and feel happy even if he does half of that he may feel great but to suddenly run so much and keep up with the habit every day is a good amount of hard work, so after a while, there is a very high chance that he will quit.
Instead, what is more important is to form a habit before making it difficult. In the same example, instead of running 5 or even 3 kilometers from day one, if he just ensures that he wakes up on time wears his running shoes walks outside for 5 mins, yes only 5 mins for a couple of weeks that will make it a habit which then can be incrementally pursued.
So, the idea is to have small goals and hit it consistently.
2. Unquantifiable Goals
Did you ever make goals like, I am going to be fit this year! You are not alone! Most people make goals that are not quantifiable. Quantifiable goals have 60% more chances of being achieved. If your goal is to become fit then your tasks have to be defined in terms of achievable smaller items, say for example – I will get myself a diet chart or I am going to exercise 30mins a day. Combine it with what you learned in point 1 and you have a lot higher chance of being successful.
3. Unmotivated Longterm Goals
In the same example as above, if becoming fit and getting the body you always wanted is your longterm goal and you have broken it down to quantifiable units, what you need now is to keep motivated at it.
To stay motivated you need to get rewarded when you achieve something. The reward can be very very simple. You can have some marbles and an empty jar and every time you do something you put a marble inside the jar, that gives a visual representation of a goal done and gives you that mental satisfaction of seeing something grow this also means that every time you cheat you take out 2 marbles from the jar. Say, for example, you love ice cream, but in order to stay fit, you know you need to limit that or eat a fruit instead or every time you successfully avoid indulging you put a marble in the jar, this will act as a reward point for your brain and you are more likely to stay motivated longer. You can also post a picture of this jar on your favorite social media.
The Benefit Friend
At times just the Marble and the Jar technique may not work then you need a helping friend. Find someone who also has some kind of similar goals and do a pact where you both do progress checks. For every unit of work towards the goal done successfully you reward the other person with something. Having someone to challenge and appreciate really helps in being motivated. Remember, you only need to be motivated enough till such time that it becomes your habit or you see a positive result and the result, in turn, drives you.
4. Environment & Distractions
Distractions are everywhere from a simple social media notification to a piece of breaking news, this means that you need to plan your environment as such that your distractions are minimal. Here is an example to illustrate the idea. To stay healthy, you need to eat healthily, we know that veggies are the way to go. In your refrigerator where do you store your veggies? In the bottom vegetable crisper right! But all the tempting tuffs are right at the door… You can easily redo your fridge to keep fruits and veggies on shelves you can see. This acts as a reminder and also keeps distractions away. Same way if you wish to limit your social media time, you can use apps that limit your social media notifications and deliver them only at a certain time all at once.
This is a bonus but an important item on the list. Precursor items are what you do before in order to achieve your goal. In a simple example, say you want to run a marathon so you want to wake up early to start jogging first, so the precursor here is to sleep early as well and this needs to be on your goal list or your entire goal will be a house of cards. Now step further ahead, in order to sleep early you will also need to eat early, finish your work early and so on. You need to satisfy your precursor items in order to do what you intend to do later.
If you follow these simple 5 techniques you are likely to stick to your new year resolution. Let me know in the comment section below if you have other ninja techniques you follow. Happy New Year to all of you!