Here we go again. Another round of New Year’s resolutions. Making New Year's resolutions dates back over 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians and Romans. The New Year as we know it came about when Julius Caesar implemented the Gregorian calendar, shifting the start of a new year to January instead of March (the planting season). During this time, resolutions were made to their gods and included things like being better people and honoring commitments. Overtime as cultures changed, so did the resolutions.
Nowadays, the top resolutions are things like exercising more, losing weight, saving more money, etc. A recent survey found that 80% of respondents felt confident in their ability to reach their goals. Yet research suggest that only 9% of Americans that made resolutions actually complete them, with most people quitting by the end of January. With so much confidence, why do so many people fail to finish?
We’d like to share a few keys to success to help you complete the goals you have set for yourself.
Key 1: When and why a goal is set is important. Many people set new year’s resolutions for traditions sake, which doesn’t offer the proper motivation to truly commit to something. Goals should be set when the change is needed. The need for change can be a powerful motivator.
Key 2: Keep things simple. If you try and tackle too many goals at once or commit to something too big it leads to failure. When most people experience failure, they lose the motivation to keep trying. To avoid that, pick one goal and focus on it.
Key 3: Keep it short. Don’t set your finish line a year away. By setting a shorter timeframe you allow for easier and multiple successes, and each of those successes compound throughout the year.
Key 4: Remember to make it fun. Making changes can be hard, which can be discouraging. That’s why it’s important to add an element of fun to whatever you’re trying to achieve. If you can make something fun and enjoyable, you tend to look forward to it, increasing your chances of sticking with it.
Key 5: Be realistic. We’ve all been told as children to “reach for the stars,” or “you can be anything!” While these are great sentiments, they are not very realistic. If you want to achieve a goal, you need to make your goal something that you can realistically complete.
Key 6: Don’t get caught up in doing it perfectly. Go into it knowing there will be mistakes. That’s OK! Sometimes making mistakes along the way teaches us and helps us grow more than doing something perfectly would have. Typically, a goal is meant to improve you or your life. Learning from mistakes is a great way to improve yourself.
Key 7: Have a backup plan. If you do fall off the wagon or feel like you’ve completely failed it’s important to have a plan in place with steps that get you back on track.
Key 8: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are no bonus points or extra fancy crowns awarded at the finish line if you did it without any help. Often, a little nudge from a friend or a professional gives momentum as well as accountability.
Key 9: Understand what success looks like. Success doesn’t look the same for everyone. Knowing what success looks like for you will help define what your goals should be and what you’re aiming for.
Photo 1 by Nerene Grobler