The latest statistics emphasise what we all probably know in our hearts, that so many of us started 2019 with the right intentions to make and stick to New Year resolutions but that sadly, only around 8% of us will actually achieve our goals.
But why? Yes, any kind of change can be totally daunting but surely the great rewards are worth the effort needed?
The big question is how can we make the changes we want and often need to make? The key is to learn how to make simple changes to your behaviour and set realistic goals that maximise the rewards and keep you motivated.
So, whatever changes you desire for 2019, be it losing weight or being more mindful and calmer, follow our top tips and you will be heading in the right direction.
- Accept it will take time and effort - sorry but there is no getting away from the fact that making any change and creating new behaviours takes time and effort. This is simply something that you will have to accept, there is no magic formula or secret shortcut. Reassuringly though small changes will soon happen which will offer clear benefits.
- Make it easy for yourself - keen ‘happiness’ researcher Shawn Achor has developed a theory called the “20 second rule.” Achor discovered that the "activation effort" - the energy it takes to get started with something - prevents most people from
actually starting an activity. Indeed, even if an activity only requires 20 extra seconds of “activation effort” this alone is enough to cause most people to not do an activity at all.
Achor found during his research that if he reduced the time it takes to do something new by 20 seconds, such as moving a guitar next to the couch instead of hiding it away in the closet, he was more likely to do the activity every day.
So, the key is to make doing your New Year’s resolution easy. If you are planning on taking a daily run, make sure you have all your running gear together and it is easy to get to.
- Add something, rather than take away - make New Year resolutions that require less willpower and can be an easy habit to form. You might find it hard to cut out chocolate, but it should be easier to add in having a healthy breakfast every day.
- Start with little goals - don’t focus on an all or nothing approach. Break down your overall goal into smaller, more manageable and achievable steps. This will allow your confidence to grow.
- Be accountable - if you need the extra push make yourself accountable to someone else. By telling someone your goal you will also be able to gain extra support and motivation when you need it.
- Reward little successes - if you wait until you achieve your final goal to reward yourself you might never get there. Success is incremental so take the time to celebrate the small successes along the way.
- Don’t give up at the first hurdle - there will be times that things don’t go to plan, but it is how you react that will affect your overall chances of success.
Every ‘failure’ is an opportunity to learn so consider how you can prevent it happening again. Do you need to break the challenge down into smaller tasks?
- Avoid perfection pressure - nothing is ever perfect. If you set your sights on achieving the impossible then you will never ever feel successful and you will eventually give up making any attempt at all. Remember any effort is better than none and being kind to yourself will lead to far greater success.