It is surprising that so many continue to make resolutions year after year even though they are infrequently achieved. It is often said (and true) that if we continue to do things the same way, we will get the same results. So too with New Year’s Resolutions.
A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.
Explaining why may be of some value but focusing on what one might do differently to change the outcome and achieve many of this year’s resolutions is likely a better use of this New Year’s message.
For most people a New Year’s resolution is a promise to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year. That isn’t enough.
Here is the question I would ask of myself. If I am ideally successful with improving my health, living more in the present, etc. how would it manifest itself by the end of the year? Or asked another way, what would have happened by the end of the year if I were successful in keeping my resolution?
Once you know what success looks like, now develop indicators. For instance, if the resolution is better health, the indicators might be weight loss, smaller waistline, better sleeping habits, lower cholesterol, just to name a few.
The next step is to establish specific measurements. How many pounds, or what smaller clothes would you now fit in? How many inches would your waistline be, or when would you go to sleep and wake up each day, etc. You get the idea. Then set quarterly benchmarks so you can see your progress. There’s no benefit in waiting until the end of the year to realize you didn’t stay on track.
And here is a step that cannot be overlooked. If you do not achieve your quarterly benchmark ask yourself what you could do differently to attain an improved outcome. Then make adjustments to set yourself up for achieving your year-end outcomes.
It also helps to communicate your resolution goals to people who could also support you. Quoting author Frank Ra, “Resolutions are more sustainable when shared, both in terms of with whom you share the benefits of your resolution, and with whom you share the path of maintaining your resolution. Peer-support makes a difference in success rate with new year’s resolutions.”
So there you have it. A road map that will definitely increase the probability that you will achieve this year’s resolutions.
This just may be your healthiest and happiest year yet. I wish nothing less for you.