What was your New Year’s resolution? If it seems like a distant memory three weeks into 2017, then know you have a lot of company. Early January resolve fades quickly (an estimated 92% of resolutions go unfulfilled).
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that kind of statistic, the contrarian in me wants to be on the other side of that number. How do you become part of the 8%? Well, it’s easier than joining the 1%!
We routinely fall short of reaching our resolutions. They can be excitingly aspirational, but they can also feel like pie in the sky. That’s why I suggest you reject the notion of a resolution and take a more nuanced, conscious, yea, evolutionary approach to achieving what you want.
A four-letter word
Instead of a resolution—which feels fluffy and as substantial as a marshmallow Peep—pinpoint a goal. That’s right, a goal. Even the word has more teeth than resolution to this English major’s ear. Make that goal something you give a good g-damn about, something that fills you with excitement and lights you up. Perhaps the process of losing that irksome 10 pounds seems more daunting than enticing. Imagine, instead, how you’ll feel when you’ve shed that weight. For me that would mean I’d feel more connected to my body, better able to move around the tennis court.
Another four-letter word
Make a plan. Break your goal into small chunks. When you’re climbing a mountain, you don’t summit overnight. What are the base camp equivalents of your goal? Write it down and map it out. Create milestones. Tracking your progress—and not judging yourself when you sometimes fall short—will help you stay motivated. Keep the plan visible. Stick it to your fridge or post it on a bulletin board above your desk.
What is one new and doable habit you could integrate into your life to move toward your goal? For instance, if increasing the time you care for yourself is your goal, you might try a daily 5-minute meditation practice. After a week or two, you can increase your time, of course. By setting an initial easy-to-achieve target, you’ll be better able to build the habit. You could also create a structure around the habit—commit to your new meditation habit before eating breakfast. Over time, it will become engrained. Down the road, you might want to add other elements to your self-care routine. Bottom line: You’re not going to reach your goal overnight, so create one achievable habit at a time.
Partner with a peer, schedule time with a sister, buddy up with a brother. In other words, forgo the urge to fly solo. Declaring your intention to someone else will solidify your resolve. That’s just the beginning. Find a friend who also wants to make a change in her life and commit to becoming accountability partners. Your goals don’t have to be the same, but do commit to a time and means to check in with each other on your respective progress.
Peer support is wonderful and you might want to seek a different kind of accountability, the kind provided by working with a coach. When you commit to working with a coach, you have more skin (read: a financial investment) in the game. A coach will challenge you, hold you accountable, and support you in finding solutions when you get stuck in your prevailing perspective.
What progress have you made toward your 2017 goals? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here on how it’s going for you. Want to explore getting ongoing support? Then contact me for a 30-minute productivity breakthrough session to achieve the results you want this year.