You want to lose weight in 2017, or maybe just eat healthier. Perhaps you want to spend less money or spend more time with your friends and family.
I know I do.
Self-improvement, or at least the desire for it, is a shared hobby. It’s why so many of us, some estimates say more than 40% of British people make Nee Years Resolutions.
For all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
Why do so many people fail at goal-setting, and what are the secrets behind those who succeed?
Keep it Simple
Many people use the New Year as an opportunity to make large bucket lists or attempt extreme makeovers, whether personal or professional.
That’s a nice aspiration, but the average person has so many competing priorities that this type of approach is doomed to failure. Essentially, shooting for the moon can be so psychologically daunting, you end up failing to launch in the first place.
So this year, I’m keeping my resolution list short!
It is more sensible to set small, attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a singular, overwhelming goal; remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognising that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.
Make it Tangible
Setting ambitious resolutions can be fun and inspiring, but the difficulty in achieving them means that your elation can quickly give way to frustration. That’s why goals should be bounded by rational, achievable measures.
A resolution to lose some weight is not that easy to follow; it is much easier to follow a plan that says no crisps, chips or ice cream for six weeks; be specific, don’t say you’re going to start going to the gym, set a clear ambition, like attending a weekly spin class or lifting weights every Tuesday or Thursday.
We say if you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals produce vague results.
Experts recommend charting your goals in some fashion, although there’s no universal strategy for success. For some, making a clear to do list is enough of a reminder.
An emerging tactic is to share your goals with your friends and family. It’s another way to build accountability, especially in the Facebook era.
Sharing a resolution is a good way to hold myself to them and in our increasingly public lives, social media can be used as a motivator.
Keep Believing You Can Do It
Simply setting a goal does raise your chances of achieving that goal, significantly.
Within weeks or months, people begin abandoning their resolutions as they hit bumps in the road that throw them off their stride.
More often than not, people who fail to keep their resolutions blame their own lack of willpower. In surveys, these would be resolvers repeatedly say that if only they had more self-determination, they would’ve overcome any hurdles and achieved their goals.
You have as much willpower as you think you have, essentially. Which means that on some level, your journey toward self-improvement will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
My Own 2017 Resolutions
After spending 2016 recovering from various injuries, I plan to increase my training slightly to be able to compete at the highest level possible.
I will be maintaining my gym sessions while increasing my quality cardio and conditioning work.
I’d like to write more on this blog in 2017, specifically, at least one post per week.
Best wishes for all you New Years Resolutions and Happy 2017!!