The catch is, however, that most of us fail. Around 88%, according to a National survey done in the UK a few years ago. That seems to me to be an astoundingly high failure rate. What’s more is that most people I talk to now seem to be almost expecting that they too will fail – there is an impression that succeeding is very unlikely, so while it’s worth giving it a bit of a go, we shouldn’t worry too much when it falls apart. This seems to me utterly daft, although I’ve fallen into the trap often myself.
2- Practice Mandarin Chinese at least once a week
3- Plan and undertake one new adventure before 2014
4- Keep all of the above!
1 – Avoid vague resolutions (such as ‘get more exercise,’ or ‘be more organised.’) It’s very hard to quantify how much more successful you are being with those. Try to stick to direct vows (Run ‘5km three times per week,’ or ‘Blitz my desk once a week” etc.)
2 – Make the goals realistic. ‘Write a bestselling novel in the next couple of weeks’ or ‘Look like Arnold Schwarzenegger’ are out of the question for most of us. Picking something incredibly unlikely is only building oneself up for a fall. Choose a target that you know you can reach, and them aim to go beyond it
3 - Find a pal to help you out– Take it upon yourselves to make the other person accountable for their resolutions, and encourage and motivate each other to keep them up
4 – Make a program – having a schedule can really help track progress, and give you smaller short-term goals to shoot for. I am trying to finish writing my first book, and have calculated that if I write 10,000 words a week, I should be able to have it done and edited by the end of April. It’s a big challenge for me, but it certainly helps to have a weekly and monthly target.
5 – Reward yourself! It worth remembering that, although these goals are made with the intention of bettering our lifestyle, productivity or attitude somehow, they won’t all be easy or fun. Make sure to put in some allowances for perhaps a slight pre-planned lapse in a fitness regime, or something else entirely (such as a long weekend away, or whatever it is you designate as luxury!)
6 – Don’t feel you have to start on January 1st! I personally think January 1st is a terrible time to start resolutions for the year. Half the population is hung over, and the other half is still in holiday mode, with sleeping and chocolate much more on their mind than lifestyle improvement.
I usually start my goals for the year on January 7th, when I go back to work. It’s much easier to integrate the resolutions into a regular routine. If you haven’t made any yet, then why not start next Monday?
7 – My final point is – don’t worry too much about breaking the promises to make. This does, I grant you, sound a little counterproductive! However, once we break a resolution or fail to keep it up for a couple of weeks, the natural reaction is to think we’ve failed, and give up on it for the year. A much better idea is to write that off as a small slipup, and restart it in earnest. In fact, I’m a big believer in doing the whole process twice a year – once in January, and once in June to see how I’m progressing and to remind myself what I wanted to change.
I wish you all great success with 2013, and I hope the year has started in the manner you hoped. If it hasn’t though, then how about dropping the ‘New Year’s’ prefix to the task, and just make some resolutions to achieve the changes you want? There’s no time like the present!