Don’t throw out the concept of setting New Year resolutions, make them sustainable instead.
Many of us have decided that it’s not worth setting goals for the New Year because we never actually achieve them. Year after year, the excitement of what’s to come motivates us to go after the things we want. We want to be healthier, have more money, better relationships, and give up any bad habits holding us back, but we just can’t seem to stick with it long enough to see tangible results.
Every January 1st we all take off out of the gate and go all in on whatever it is we want for ourselves only to end up right where we started. This fast and furious attempt to finally see the success we’ve always wanted is exactly what ends up being the culprit that causes us to fail.
In our many attempts to achieve New Year goals without much long-term success, it is tempting to give up on the idea of resolutions all together. Instead, let’s look at how we can improve our odds of success with more sustainable goals that include small steps and changes that we can maintain through the year.
How to create sustainable goals that are easier to stick with.
Focus on the change –
Most people tend to focus on the results they desire more so than the change that will get them the results they want. For example, I want to write a book. The driving force is I am always focused on the fact that I want to write a book. My focus is on the result. If I flip the process to focusing on the change I need to make, it would be more like this. I am going to spend one hour everyday from 6am-7am writing the content for my book. Now, I am focusing on the change which will get me the result I want. Think about the goal you desire to achieve most this year. What are a few changes you can make and focus on that will get you the results? Focus on the change!
Take baby steps –
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. When it comes to setting and achieving New Year goals, most of the time we bite off more than we can chew. We go all in fast and furious, and this is the biggest mistake we can make. Small and manageable steps in the right direction will eventually get you where you want to be. Little baby steps are sustainable and much easier. Baby steps won’t wear you down and burn you out so quickly. Remember, it’s not about how fast you can accomplish your goal, it’s about staying the course so that you can achieve it. It’s the tortoise and the hare story.
Create an urgency statement –
What difference will it make? A goal without any sense of urgency is a feather in the wind. Why is accomplishing your goal important and how will it impact your life. For example, I want to kick this bad habit. At this point in my life, the bad habit isn’t causing me too much trouble, but I know that in the future it will. I need to write out an urgency statement for my future self. If I keep with the bad habit, where will I be in 5 years, 10 years, or even 20 years. I used this method to quit smoking. At 27 years old, I didn’t really have any noticeable consequences. However, my stepmother passed away at 52 years old from smoking. I knew if I didn’t quit, that could be me down the road. I created an urgency by envisioning my future self being diagnosed with cancer or having to carry an oxygen tank. By doing this, I was able to have a sense of urgency based on the difference it would make for my future self. In June of 2021, my 55-year-old sister lost her life to lung cancer. There is no doubt in my mind, that could be me. I am now 50 years old. I wish I had written an urgency statement to myself at 27 that I could read today. Maybe for you it’s not smoking, but it’s too much sugar. Sugar is addictive and eating too much sugar is a very bad habit. You may not have any current consequences yet, but in time you will. Type II diabetes could be lurking around the corner if you don’t change this behavior. These are just a couple of examples to help you understand the power of an urgency statement. An urgency statement will help you remember why achieving your goal is so important and the difference it will make if you succeed or if you don’t succeed.
Whatever it is that you desire to achieve, you can do it! Take some time to think about a few changes you can make, a few baby steps to take, and consider the urgency of what could happen if you accomplish your goal or if you don’t. By taking a much slower more sustainable approach, you will improve your odds of successfully achieving your New Year resolutions greatly.
Article Written By:
Kim Martin, Founder of I’ve Decided, INC.