Happy New Year!
Today is the 1st of January 2018 and it’s that time again when we all sit down and think about what we want to achieve this new year. What are we going to change about ourselves to make our lives better?
But do these resolutions ever last or pan out? Some of them will. A couple of years ago I made a resolution to lose weight. I had said it many times before but I felt that I really meant it this time. 2.5 years later I have lost 4 stones (56lbs) and I’m still going. I’ve had my beautiful baby boy in the middle of all that so it’s taken me longer than I originally hoped, but this year I want to reach my target weight.
Resolutions can be empowering and they do work… sometimes.
But just how long does the average person keep their New Year’s resolution?
A study in 2007 from the University of Bristol found out that 88 per cent of people who make New Year’s resolutions don’t complete them. In fact, the NHS say that only one in ten of us will succeed. Bupa, the private health care company, were slightly more positive and still found that 63 per cent of people failed in 2015. From the people polled by Bupa, 43% of Brits lasted less than a month, and 66% lasted one month or less. 80% of people didn’t make past March before going back to their old ways. Oh dear! That’s really not great!
So, how can you make your resolutions more achievable?
Prof. Richard J. Wiseman is a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has written several best-selling popular psychology books that have been translated into over 30 languages. Here are his top 10 tips for achieving success:
1. Only make one resolution
Don’t get too ambitious. Stick to the one you want the most and go for it. There may be time for others later in the year. No-one said you can’t set a goal in the middle of Summer!
2. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to set your goal
Read above. Who dictates it has to be the 31st Dec or 1st Jan to start a goal. Go for it whenever the time is right for you.
3. Don’t attempt previously failed resolutions
If you’ve failed to quit smoking at the start of every year, maybe it’s not the right time for you. January is a stressful month. Everyone is dealing with the aftermath of Christmas spending and coping with a dwindling bank balance. We also have to find the space to put our new gadgets and smellies, and if you have children, my word, where do we put the new toys!? Why not leave that resolution for a month or so and start then?
4. Don’t base your goal on what everyone else is doing
If your best friend has decided that she wants exercise more in the new year, don’t just try it yourself too. Unless you are utterly focused on your resolution, it just won’t work. It has to be your decision and the time you feel it is right for you.
5. Break your goal into a series of time-based steps
According to the experts, breaking your resolution down into small, manageable and track-able goals is the best way to stick to it. Some resolutions can seem like a mountain to climb. For example, let’s say you want to lose 5 stone in weight. If you just aim for that loss, but forget to celebrate the smaller achievements that actually make up the big one, you will have a long wait. Instead, start by joining a weight loss group for support and tick that off your goal sheet. Make the first week of healthy eating a goal. Your first weight loss a goal, even if it’s 0.5lb. You can also make each pound lost a mini goal. There are lots of ways to break it down and make it seem so much easier than saying, “I want to lose 5 stones” and not celebrating your achievement until you hit that target.
6. Tell your friends and family what you’re aiming for
Support can be amazingly helpful when it’s needed. Don’t under-estimate it. And if you feel that your family or friends will laugh and tell you you can’t do it, well, there’s nothing quite like proving someone wrong either!
7. Regularly remind yourself of the benefits
Whether it’s health benefits from quitting smoking, losing weight, or exercising more, remind yourself of how much better you will feel afterwards. No matter what your resolution is; learning a new hobby, like painting or a speaking new language, the benefits are always going to be fantastic. That’s why you wanted to do it in the first place!
8. Give yourself small rewards for achieving your each step
If a pat on the back works for you, then great, but why not treat yourself each time you hit one of your mini goals? Buy a new nail varnish, go out for a coffee, give yourself a reward. You’ve earned it!
9. Make your plans and progress concrete by writing it down
Writing things down makes it more real and really does set it in stone. If you put a pen to paper each time you achieved a goal it is always there for you to look back on and remind yourself. Write down your resolution, then set out each mini goal too. You can stick it on your fridge or your office wall, whatever is best for you. Your progress is there in front of you and is a target to achieve.
10. Expect to have small set-backs, and don’t make these a reason to give up altogether
If you fall down 7 times, get up 8. Don’t let a set-back stop you. Keep trying to achieve your goal. No-one likes a quitter, including you!
So what will your resolution be this year? And when will you start? Now, or in a few months time when things are more settled and you are in the swing of 2018 (or whatever year it is when you read this!)?
My resolution is to make my business flourish. Let’s see if I can take Prof Wisemans’ advice!