Go back to one year ago when you had an inspiring and great day because you made your new year resolutions (Goals). However, one year down the line you found that nothing much has been changed in your life. What really changed was the year. If this sounds something relatable to your life, you have to make sure that this time it will not be repeated. You need to focus on two things: reconsider your resolution making procedure and second is train your mind to keep your resolutions.
Before we get into the detail on how we can keep our new year resolutions this year I would like to discuss how your new year goals look like. Nicole Spector reported for NBC News that there are seven most popular New Year’s resolutions, based on how often the terms appear in Google searches. They are mentioned below:
1. Get Healthy
2. Get Organized
3. Live Life to the Fullest
4. Learn New Hobbies
5. Spend Less/Save More
7. Read More
As Nicole Spector reported further that, ‘get Healthy’, the top resolution, had almost 63 million searches, representing an increase of almost 14 per cent over two years.
If your goals or new year resolutions look like the above then you are the person who will find hard to keep your resolutions for the entire year. According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are obviously against you.
Think about it, only 20% of the people manage to keep their resolutions and achieve extraordinary in life. Remaining, 80% regret at the end of every year. Let’s discuss why the new year resolutions remain unresolved.
Ambiguity in the resolutions
The above seven new year resolutions are so vague that those who make such resolutions hardly know what exactly they are craving for. You want to get healthy, but don’t know the actual definition of being healthy. You want to save more money but you don’t know how much money you want to save. You want to read more but you don’t know how many books to read that make you feel that you are reading more.
You make such vague resolutions because it is fascinating to you. However, you really don’t mean it in reality. Make sure that you make your resolutions very specific and clear. For instance, If you want to save more money, then decide how much money you want to save throughout this year. Saving money is not important, how much money you are saving is more important and helpful to keep the resolutions.
Overly ambitious goals
You make resolutions or goals very high because your motivation to do something extraordinary in your life is high on the eve of the new year. For instance, if you want to read more and you are inspired by Bill Gates, you make the resolution that you will read 50 books this year. Without thinking that currently, you are not able to read even one book in 20-30 days.
There is no problem in making resolutions high, however, it should not be so high that it go unachieved and then you regret at the end of the year. Which will ultimately affect your belief system and confidence too.
Lack of strategies
Lack of planning to keep the resolutions is one of the biggest factors that help resolutions go unresolved. You make the resolution of reading more but you don’t have any plan to achieve that goals. Make some plan to achieve your reading goal.
For instance, you want to read 30 books in a year. By the calculation, it will be two and a half books in a month, which will be cut down to more than one book (i.e. 450-500 pages) in 15 days. This will be cut down to 30-35 pages per day. Reading 30-35 pages every day is absolutely feasible.
If you will read 30-35 pages every day throughout the year you can you achieve your goal of reading 30 books a year. That is how you can plan your other resolution for keeping it throughout the year.
“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD.
“Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time,” she added further.
Laibson at Harvard University once said that our emotional brain has a hard time imagining the future, even though our logical brain clearly sees the future consequences of our current actions.
“Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, order dessert and smoke a cigarette. Our logical brain knows we should save for retirement, go for a jog and quit smoking,” Laibson added further.
Our impulsive choices happen when the emotional part of our brain triumphs over the logical one. Majority of us let emotional part of our brain triumph over logical one. That is the reason we compromise with the things that will give benefits in the long run for immediate pleasure. We make resolutions and follow them for a week or two and then we give up on it because we don’t see any result in a week or two.
For instance, going to the gym for one month will give you nothing as you expect. However, you will see that your body is coming into shape as you expected in 7-8 months. And then one year down the line you have a muscular body.
How you can train your brain to keep your resolutions
Make a belief system
If you don’t believe in something you can not make it. For example, if you don’t believe that you can read 30 books in a year then you can not read that 30 books. On the other hand, once you have formed a belief you rarely depart from it. Your unconscious mind (where your beliefs reign) likes to keep you wrapped up in your beliefs.
Once we form a primary belief, we will usually disbelieve everything that contradicts it. It can result in angst, arguments and lack of connection in your relationships.
On the flip side, we also continue to find evidence to back up our belief. You can make your belief system work in your favour.
The more positive you are towards your goals the better your results will be.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten,” Tony Robins. If you want to have good health and good muscles you have to do something that you haven’t done before: such as running, work out and eating food full of protein. In other words, you have to break your comfort zone and challenge yourself. The horizon of your comfort zone will increase every time you break your comfort zone. Which is good for you.
The more you will challenge yourself the more you will experience and the more you will learn.
“As a leader, it’s your job to take the reins and inspire change. But you can’t reach your full potential unless you challenge yourself. And by setting high expectations–and striving to meet or exceed them–your productivity-boosting mentality can become contagious,” John Hall CEO and co-founder, Influence & Co. writes on Inc.com.
Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Norman Vincent Peale. If you are working hard to become CEO of a major company then you will be manager or reserve some high position if not CEO. If it does not fascinates you then you are the person who has the mentality of all-or-nothing. Which is hazardous to your journey of success.
You will always live in scepticism and never step out of your comfort zone. For instance, you want to save Rs. 5 lac by the end of this year. However, you have a doubt if something unexpected come across your way and you will not be able to save Rs. 5 lac at the end of the day.
Ditch that mentality so that you come out of your comfort zone and achieve something if not as expected.
Get to know what time works for you
Many say that exercise just after you wake up in the morning is good. Some say evening is best. However, you know what time suits you to exercise. Yes, morning is best for exercise because you get energise and you are ready to be a more productive whole day.
However, what if you exercise in the morning for one week and then give up because you can not keep up with the timing as evening suits you best for exercise. There is nothing wrong with exercising in the evening.
I did an experiment and found that I can work on my website blog and writing books (get my recent book here) at night more consistently than early in the morning.
Tweak your environment for your success
“You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” Tim Ferriss. Which means that your surroundings have a great impact on your life. However, don’t blame your surroundings for your failures. Use it in your favour instead.
If you want to read more books make friends who are voracious readers. Have a small library in your bedroom. Keep books wherever you go. Carry a book instead of cellphones. Have bookshelves instead of big TV at home. Join book reading club. All these will help you to indulge in reading more.
Since distraction is a huge enemy of productivity, I avoid distraction by keeping my cell phone on vibration or silent while working on important tasks. This how I tweak my environment to provide me focused mind. Look for ways you can tweak your surroundings according to your goals and win the game.
Before you finish reading this piece pledge yourself that, no matter what, you will keep your this year resolutions throughout the year and make your life better.
“Let all the failures of your past year be your best guide in the new year,” Mehmet Murat ildan.