Five Tips to Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions

This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.
Five Tips to Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions
The 'New Year, New Me' mantra is upon us. Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker/Flickr.

Christmas is over but are you ready for 2020?

The ‘New Year, New Me’ mantra is upon us. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t last long, does it? Resolutions and goals are fleeting. Only 8% of resolutions are achieved. A whopping 92% simply fall to the wayside.

The reason is actually very simple. You don’t plan. Think back to your past resolutions or goals, did you ever take the time to sit down and plan out on paper how you are going to achieve your resolution or goal? Until you start planning you have a vague desire not a goal. When we plan the likelihood of our goals succeeding rises by 42%.

As a Coach, here are my top tips to getting your 2020 Goals off to a solid start and setting yourself up for success. This approach not only builds a concrete plan but sustains your motivation and momentum over the course of 2020 so when you are coming into Christmas 2020 you’ll achieve your fitness, health, career & wider life goals.

Positively Frame the Goal: Kelly McGonigal, Professor of Psychology at the University of Stanford, makes a distinction between our positive and negative motivation. Simply put, negative motivation focuses on what you are losing out on. Take weight loss for example, we fixate on what we cannot eat which makes us feel worse off and weakens our motivation.

“Any sort of avoidance is going to trigger inhibition systems, whereas positive goals are going to trigger approach and reward motivation”.

This is incredibly demotivating and will break you. Positive motivation focuses on what you are going to gain, looking at healthy behaviour, your gym routine, going for walks or the new snacks you will eat. A positive mindset does wonders for creating a sustainable goal.

Be Process Driven, Not Output Driven: Obviously measurement is key to mark progress, but I make a distinction between measuring success and measuring progress. The outcome is a zero-sum game.

You either have achieved it or you haven’t. Too much emphasis on the outcome can ruin your motivation. Instead focus your attention on how progress will be measured. For example, you don’t want to focus on losing a stone, instead you want to focus on how many times you’ll go to the gym a week or how long you’ll exercise for every day.

It’s about the end result but being consistent with the process.

You have a life. So don’t forget about it: Particularly in January we can swept up in this new year mentality. But we’re only human and have commitments, family, work and friends to keep up with. Remember that and assess whatever your goals and resolutions are against your other priorities. Tunnel vision with your resolutions can be good in the beginning but by the end of January, you'll find it is no longer sustainable.

Figure out your timing: We’re visual beings and studies show that visualising a plan makes it more likely to succeed. A visual timeline is a handy tool to use and I always encourage clients to cross-reference it with their own calendar. Make sure to add in birthdays, holidays, busy work periods etc, to ensure the goal has the best opportunity of success. This is about forward planning, reducing risks of failure and ensuring that your planning makes sense for you.

Control. Control. Control: So many people hinge their goals on variables. A variable is a factor that is not under your control. There is no causal link between your actions and progress or achieving the goal and this quickly weakens motivation as you do not see a return on investment for your own actions.

Make sure whatever your goal is, you have the control to make sure its realised. Otherwise you are leaving it to blind faith.

The only thing standing between your goals succeeding is yourself and a few hours of planning.

Robbie Stakelum 

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