Despite the best of intentions, once the glow of a fresh new year wears off, many people struggle to make good on their plans. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. That means over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail!
The study also involved non-resolvers, people who did not make a New Year’s resolution but had a goal they wanted to achieve that year. Only 4% of non-resolvers were successful at achieving their goals, a far bleaker result than those who did make a New Year’s resolution.
Naturally, we don’t want to be in the camp of folks that fail to achieve their aspirations and dreams for 2024, so we’ve put together two tips for yours New Year resolution effort.
Two Tips for Your New Year Resolutions
1. Mentally prepare for change
Changing ingrained habits is no easy task, so before diving head-first into your New Year goals, it is important to take a step back and get ready for that impending change.
The first breakthrough in change is taking a personal inventory. Being that it’s the end of one year and the beginning of the next, it’s perfect timing to take stock of the past year’s accomplishments. Think about the following:
What did I set out to do in the past year?
Where did I make progress?
Where didn’t I see progress?
Naturally, your resolution may focus on areas that lack progress, but don’t forget to savor the progress made and find some small way to celebrate. Those happy feelings are useful! If possible, try to associate them with an object or word related to your accomplishment.
You will want to keep upbeat with your new resolution, so you can use that positive association with last year’s accomplishments to remind you of those good feelings when you are feeling challenged.
As you start thinking about the changes you want to implement, make sure to do the following:
Try not to make big/quick changes
Change should be gradual
Build on smaller changes
Allow a little room for error
2. If you fall off track, get back on quick
Rome was not built in a day.
We’ve established it will take time for your resolution to become a reality, and we know change is difficult. In fact, we’ve already established we should leave some room for mistakes and setbacks.
Keep the following ideas in mind:
Skipping an intermediate task is not a complete failure
Missing a goal by 10% or even 80% is not a complete failure
Finishing a task late is not a complete failure
A moment of weakness is meaningless in the grand scheme of things
Setbacks can happen, but so long as they are handled correctly, they will not impact the big goal. The key is to avoid a defeatist attitude at all costs, i.e., “Well, I screwed up once, why should I even try to do this anymore.”
And if there is a setback, it’s important to understand what led to that moment and how you can avoid a similar situation in the future, i.e., "If I play video games after work, I will not go to the gym. Don’t play video games after work!"
Once a mistake is made, own it and move on to the next thing. For example, if you skipped a study session, make it up tomorrow, and keep on moving. A few small mistakes shouldn’t spoil your resolution for the year!