Most new year’s resolutions fail before they reach July. Here’s how you can buck the trend.
Many people use the Christmas and new year break to spend time with family and friends, and perhaps indulge in one too many Christmas puddings. This holiday period (and perhaps the over-indulgence in sweet treats) often inspires people to assess their goals and accomplish new ones in the year ahead – what we call “new year’s resolutions”. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions barely last longer than the leftovers from Christmas lunch.
A 2014 survey conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton in the US found that 77 per cent of people stuck to their resolutions within the first week of setting them, but that figure dips to a disappointing 46 per cent after six months.
In my experience, many “resolutions” usually end up being unstructured, not very SMART (more on this later), and are near impossible to achieve once the calendar turns over.
Why do so many new year’s resolutions fail?
A series of British studies published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2016 found that 55 per cent of resolutions related to health. Resolutions like “I want to exercise more”, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get up earlier” are common. While they are admirable goals, these “resolutions” are often open-ended statements with no structure or plan to help us achieve them. Think of them like dreams: I cast them in the same basket as wanting to become an astronaut or win the lotto.
Successful resolutions need structured, achievable mini-goals to set and work towards.
My tips to make your resolution a reality
1. Start with your statement. For example, “I want to lose weight”.
2. Redefine that statement into a SMART goal. This goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Time-based. For example, my goal is to lose four kilograms by 31 March this year.
3. Refine your goal into objectives and key results. If you look at the goal-setting of companies like Google and Apple, many of them have audacious (or stretch) goals that may seem unachievable at times. The relevant department heads then break these goals down into smaller goals – achievable goals they call “objectives” for each team and time period. Each objective must be accompanied by a key result.
For example, “My stretch goal or long-term goal is to lose 10kg by the end of 2019, and my objectives may be to: (1) eat a healthy diet and (2) exercise four times per week. We can use our key results to measure progress to the overall goal.
4. Write your goal down. Somewhere you will see it every day and review it weekly. Use this weekly review to assess how you are tracking and, if you have fallen off the wagon, a visual reminder will help you jump straight back on.
My tips not only work for new year’s resolutions but can help you achieve goals year-round. Try to block out time throughout the year to stop, reflect and reset your goals – there is no reason why you should wait until January if you want to make a change. This is how I structure my year and it has personally helped me open 21 businesses (F45 training studios and Activate Health Clinics) in the last 3 years.
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