Have you set a New Year's Resolution for 2019?
Or have you, like over half of the people, decided against setting one this year?
Perhaps, you're abstaining because of the dismal success rates. Maybe, like most people, you have failed to achieve your desired goals year after year. After all, less than 10% of people succeed in achieving their New Year's Resolutions.
Or have you just decided you're too stupid, lazy, or just lacking in willpower?
Before you throw in the New Year's towel this year, read on for the 5 simple and powerful ingredients missing from most people's attempts. Incorporate these to take you from failure to success in achieving your New Year's Resolutions.
Step#1: Make a New Year's ResolutionNo, really.
Make a New Year's Resolution.
But this time, choose one that will set you up for success.
The most common New Year's Resolutions are to save money, lose weight and get in shape. Now, those are admirable goals, don't get me wrong.
It's just that they're too vague.
And if you fly with this vague a goal, you're likely going to crash and burn. Why?
Because you'll be flying solo without getting your unconscious mind onside. And your unconscious mind treats every new goal as a potential suicide mission because its whole job is to keep everything running smoothly -- and the same.
It will do everything it can to sabotage your efforts and keep you safe (in its well-intentioned way).
The first step to engaging the cooperation of your mind is to set a goal like you would input a destination into your GPS.
If you want to visit a girlfriend in New York City, you could tell your GPS that you want to go to New York City. However, with multitudes of residents and streets, your GPS would likely at best take you to the center of the city and say you've reached your destination. But would you be where you really want to be?
Your GPS destination needs to be specific in order to reach your friend's home, and so does your New Year's Resolution. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, for instance, you could say you want to lose 20 pounds.
Using your internal GPS is the start of creating a SMART goal: one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
To use the last example, you could say you want to lose 20 pounds over 20 weeks so that you feel healthier and have more energy. The goal of losing 1 pound per week is specific, measurable, and achievable.
The time frame lends it urgency, because someday never comes. To add even more urgency to it, tell others so they can hold you accountable.
Your reasons for wanting to lose the weight are very relevant to your quality of life. This is so important, I'm giving it its very own step.
Step #2: Love Your WhyRichard Davidson, a Neuroscientist, has shown that your brain's left pre-frontal cortex lights up when you think of a meaningful goal or even when you think of your life's purpose. This response is even stronger when you hit an obstacle to achieving your goal.
This is so very important because your pre-frontal cortex is responsible for your executive functioning, like planning, problem-solving, decision-making, acting on both short and long-term goals, and self-control.
Therefore, knowing your WHY for attaining your goal has a strong neurological effect to keeping you on course toward your goals.
Your WHY can motivate you through reward. For example, you can focus on how you would look in that new dress you want or how you would feel with all of your debts paid off.
Your WHY can also motivate you through emotional pain.
In fact, if you're like most people, you've created your past New Year's Resolutions out of remorse for having abandoned all healthy habits and overspending during the holiday season.
The emotional pain of that yucky, heavy bloated feeling or receiving your credit card bill can definitely be a powerful motivator.
However, is it tied to self-loathing and criticism?
Step #3: Feel Great Today, Awesome TomorrowIf you're like most people, you have an internal judge and jury who constantly find fault with you. You can't do anything right, and you can definitely never look good enough.
I call mine the Peanut Gallery.
Your inner critic would have you believe that you're a total failure and unlovable in the extreme because you're carrying extra weight, or you don't have a twenty-year-old's body anymore.
Be careful when you're crafting your WHY motivations that you create them from a self-loving place.
Otherwise, you'll be in danger of suffering from "Who am I Kidding" Syndrome:
- Who am I kidding that I could ever lose weight and be lovable?
- Who am I kidding that I could ever get out of debt, let alone save a few bucks?
- Who am I kidding that I could have that media career I've always dreamed of?
- I'm a failure.
- I might as well give up now.
- Where's that chocolate bar and the bottle of wine?
That is unless you choose your words and intent to show yourself self-love:
- Never again do I want to feel heavy and bloated like I feel right now.
- I'm tired of this brain fog and exhaustion dragging me under.
- I deserve to feel better, with a clear mind and lots of energy.
- And I am choosing to feel and look even better by losing 20 pounds in 20 weeks.
- As an added bonus, I'm going to rock that slinky black dress I've been eyeing!
With self-love, you're saying to yourself that you're already worthy and you're going to be and feel even more awesome once you attain your goal.
And you're more likely to believe you can achieve it.
Step #4: Am It!It all starts here, with your belief in your ability to succeed in achieving your goal.
The biggest block to your success is usually your lack of faith in your ability to achieve the goal. And it comes from "Who Am I Kidding?" Syndrome.
Use these tips to kick "Who am I Kidding?" Syndrome to the curb:
- By making your goal SMART and attainable, you're amping up your belief meter.
- Find others who have attained the same goal that you want. If they've done it, so can you.
- Is there someone at work who has dug themselves out of debt?
- If you want to run a marathon and your inner critic is saying you're too old, tell your critic the story of the 101-year-old marathon runner.
- Enlist support in achieving your goal. Having an accountability and support buddy makes the whole journey more fun and easier to travel.
- Divide your goal into manageable bite-sized chunks and actions so that it feels more attainable. Then follow through consistently to create the habit and allow the habit to get you your results.
Step #5: Inch by Inch, Everything's a CinchHow often do you have to focus on breathing or your heart beating? How about keeping your body temperature at the perfect level?
Of course not. Your operating system is running efficiently in the background, taking care of all of these important little details so that you can focus on the big stuff, like making decisions.
The same holds true for your habits. Like learning to drive a car.
You first had to agonize over every single action, feet on the appropriate pedal, your hands on the wheel, the car on your side of the road.
You were exhausted and stressed from the effort! But you had your mind on the goal and your reasons for wanting to drive.
Bit by bit, it became easier and easier until driving was second nature to you. It had become a habit so that your unconscious operating system could take over that process too.
You can employ the power of your unconscious mind to get the results you want. Inch by inch, everything's a cinch.
One research study measured how long it took for an action to become an automatic habit. Their subjects took between 18-254 days, depending on the nature and complexity of the action.
For instance, going to the gym and working out took far longer to become automatic compared to walking for 10 minutes after breakfast.
Why? Because it takes more time, effort and steps to go to the gym than putting a pair of shoes on and heading out the door.
Moral of the story? Chunk your goals down into bite-sized, manageable actions that are realistic.
If you want to go to the gym, remove as much resistance to it as possible to set yourself up for success.
- Keep your gym bag in your car.
- Choose a gym on your way to or from work so that it's convenient.
- Make it enjoyable by meeting a friend there.
- Rather than going the whole hog right away, simply create the habit of going. For the first few times, stay for just a few minutes and then leave. Then slowly build up the time you spend.
- The same holds true for your routine. Do the bare minimum of cardio and weights at first, even less than what you may have done in the past.
- Ignore the strange looks you might get because you'll have the last laugh when you're still going months later and they're not.
And if you still fall off track, bounce back.
Life is a Basketball Game:What if, despite these 5 steps, your resolution is derailed? You may beat yourself up and drown your guilt and shame in a bag of cookies as you write off yet another failed New Year's Resolution.
But wait! All is not lost.
The same researchers who showed that it is better to choose simple goals, also found that falling off the wagon does not set you back to square one. In fact, it barely makes any impact on your results already achieved.
Furthermore, if you hop back on as soon as possible, your results will increase almost as much as if you had not missed a day at all.
So, if you get derailed despite your best intentions, forgive yourself and know that life happens. Then get back on track as soon as you can.
Think of it like a basketball game. If you're in your backcourt, you know you want to sink the ball in the opposing team's net. BUT it's against the rules to just carry the ball down the court! You have to dribble it down.
Life is like basketball. You need to know where you want to go, and there is no fast, direct way there. You have to dribble your way to your destination.
In life, that is called failing and bouncing back, failing and bouncing back, failing and bouncing back...
You may even lose the ball completely for a short time, and yet you can get it back and make up for lost ground.
Always keep your mind on your end goal and why you want to reach it.
Have fun with it because life is all about the journey.
What New Year's Resolution are you setting this year? Comment and share below.