New Year, New You? New Years Resolutions? Unless you’ve experienced some kind of metamorphic transformation, you probably feel similar to how you felt a week ago. Perhaps a few pounds heavier (or lighter)? Exhausted or well rested? Time for some perspective.
New Years Resolutions are set apart from other resolutions in that they anticipate new beginnings. So what better time to make new plans, new to-do lists, and create a new vision?
5 reasons why New Years Resolutions fail
Why are we eating chocolate within days, back on the smokes within a week, driving past the gym within a month, procrastinating about our business again before Easter? Here are my 5 top reasons:
# 1. We don’t really mean it
Saying it for the sake of it. Examples: “I should really lose weight, I suppose I will go to the gym, I’ll try to eat less chocolate” Mostly, these are statements we make because we would like to be thinner, fitter, slimmer, as do most of us. But the intention is not there unless there are specific goals made, and an action plan put into place. Every success begins with a decision, but the level of success will depend on your conviction to achieve your goal.
# 2. We make them for someone else
We too often set goals to please others – our “other half”, employer, employee, offspring, parent, sibling or what we perceive society to consider what is best. ANY goal set will not be fully achieved unless it is set for you AND that you feel worthy of achieving the goal AND worthy enough to enjoy the benefits.
A note on negative talk
The unconscious mind often ignores negatives. It also has a tendency to focus on action words (verbs) and nouns. I MUST GIVE LESS CREDIT becomes I MUST GIVE CREDIT becomes GIVE CREDIT. Easy!! I SHOULD SMOKE LESS becomes I SHOULD SMOKE. I SMOKE. Again, easy to do. We can often end up affirming the very thing we wish to stop. How about: I MUST CLEARLY STATE MY CREDIT TERMS becomes STATE CREDIT TERMS affirms the action of being more assertive in providing credit. I WILL BREATHE EASILY AND HEALTHILY becomes simply BREATHE or HEALTH – both positive aspirations by any standards.
# 3. New Years Resolutions are not specific enough
‘I need to make more sales.’ ‘I should give up smoking.’ I have to try and lose weight.’ Negative words. Non-responsible statements. They will not encourage success. How about these instead?
- Starting tomorrow, I will make 20 more sales calls every day, and set up a CRM system to track and follow up – a little more specific?
- On Sunday, I will read Allen Carr’s book, on Monday I will stop smoking and start on the nicotine patches for exactly 3 weeks, and then go cold turkey with the smokes. A bit more specific than just saying “I should give up”?
- On Tuesday evening, I will call into the local gym and make an appointment with the personal trainer. I will make a plan with him to lose 6 kilos by June 7th, the day before my summer vacation. A little more specific than procrastinating about how you will lose that weight?
Put a date on it. Put a number on it. Put a limit on it. Put it on paper. Name it, shame it and state your contingency plan.
# 4. The resolution is not ongoing
Any resolution needs thought, process and outcome. As well as that, no plan should be a “one-off!” Planning should always be ongoing, leading to the next thing, ultimately leading to our life-long goals and aspirations. By practicing planning throughout the year, new year plans will lose their “shock” value, and be more sustaining – using the tips above of course!
# 5. Change means losing something
Most people associate change with giving up or losing something. Try this exercise – ask your colleague / partner to change one thing about themselves as you avert your eyes. I am not a gambling woman, but I bet you they have just removed something from their clothes or body. They will more likely remove an item, than add an item. With a CHANGE = LOSING mindset, we brand ourselves losers before we even begin.
We need to perceive a resolution as a new positive habit, reformed habit, or rebuilt habit. And always positive. Instead of something like “I must give up cigarettes – I’m fed up with no ME time – I need to lose weight” try answering these simple questions / suggestions:
- By saying no to a cigarette now, what am I saying yes to?
- By saying no to time-wasters, what am I saying yes to?
- Broccoli might get stuck on your teeth, but french fries will get stuck on your a$$ 😉
The Procedures Manual
When flying an aeroplane, and something goes wrong, rather than having to take time to think out the situation, the pilot diagnoses the issue and looks up the solution in the procedures manual. The problem has already been predicted, and a solution recorded. When making up and keeping to your new years resolutions for 2013, take a few minutes to write down 2 or 3 things you will do if you “fall off the wagon”. This is your procedures manual – it will tell you exactly WHAT you need to do if you hit a brick wall, fail, or slow down.
Embrace your resolutions, AND write them down, plan them and make them long term and long standing! Have you a great tip you can share with us below?