Creating New Year’s resolutions might feel like setting yourself up for failure but these simple tips will make achieving those resolutions much easier.
Let’s start whether you should set a New Year’s resolution or not. Over the years you may have failed a few of them, I certainly did, so you can be thinking resolutions might not worth trying. Research suggests otherwise! In a study conducted by Dr. John C. Norcross, University of Scranton psychology professor, showed that people with resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior compared to non-resolvers 1.
Also another study showed people are more likely to tackle their goals following temporal landmarks such as the start of a new year or after a birthday, proving evidence for “the fresh start effect” 2
Here’s a list of very useful tips that you should use while setting New Year’s resolutions in order to be able to stick with the all the way through.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Here’s what we mean by each of these phrases.
Specific: Instead of I want to lose weight, try setting a specific goal like “I want to lose 6 kilos”.
Measurable: Make sure to set a goal which you can measure the progress of. “I will be more successful” can be a good but hard to measure goal. So instead find how you define success and create measurable goals around them like “I want to study German for 5 hours a week in order to become more successful”
Achievable: Set goals that are realistically achievable. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big. It means that you have to make sure you have enough resources available to achieve that goal. An example could be setting a goal to be promoted but making sure that you have or can attain the qualifications required for that position
Relevant: In order to have the motivation make sure you set goals that align with your vision for the future. If you want to lose weight, setting a goal for getting a driver license might not work.
Time-bound: Define a time-frame or deadline in which you want to achieve your goal. For example “I will be working out at least 3 times a week by February 14th”. By the way if you’re thinking about starting a new exercise routine check out our related blog.
Begin with a Wish, imagine the Outcome you want to achieve, identify Obstacles around that goal and create a Plan to overcome the obstacles and realize your wish. WOOP framework is commonly used for personal development goals. It’ll help you have a vision of the whole process of achieving your New Year’s resolution.
Bind your goal with a good or a bad action depending on the nature of your goal. For example if you want to spend less time on your phone while at work, make sure every time you look at your phone during work hours you’ll have to lock your phone for 30 minutes in your free time. You could also bundle a goal with a temptation like having a small snack for every 30 minutes you spend phone-free at work.
Frame your New Year’s resolutions as something you want to achieve rather than something you want to avoid. Recently published research showed that people with approach-based resolutions are 12% more likely to achieve their resolutions compared to avoid-oriented resolutions 3. For example instead of saying “I will quit chocolate” say “I will eat more sugar-free food”.
Working towards many different resolutions all at once may start to feel like a drag after a while. So instead set resolutions one-by-one as you complete them. This way you won’t overwhelm yourself.
Trying to achieve previously failed goals may make you feel like swimming against the tide right from the beginning. Approaching the problem in a new way or saving it for a time you feel more resilient can be a better way of setting New Year’s resolutions.
Tell your friends and family about your resolution. Post it on social media. This way you can find people who would encourage you when you feel like stopping or would like to work for that goal together. Both ways you’ll have a companion and this can definitely increase your motivation. Also by telling others about your resolutions, you’ll feel accountable for that goal.
In his book The Happiness Advantage, happiness researcher Shawn Achor discusses how he wanted to make playing guitar a daily habit. Achor recalls that the guitar was placed in his bedroom closet. Once he took the guitar from his closet into his living room he found it much easier to play it every day. With this action, he reduced the time required to perform the activity by just 20 seconds but it worked like a charm. So try to reduce effort required for performing your resolutions. For example, put the books you want to study on your desk rather than keeping them on the shelf.
I hope that with these tips you can rock your New Year’s Resolutions in 2021
Happy New Year everyone! 🙂