Eight percent. Eight. That’s how many of us actually accomplish our New Year’s resolutions, according to Forbes. You have a far greater probability of being speared by a narwhal.*
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Team Gennev did a little searching to find some of the unique ways others make resolutions “stick”—so next year we can look back on a 2017 full of accomplishments and “to do’s” that became “ta da’s!”
Here’s what we found:
Make your goal into a puzzle that your brain will inherently want to solve–by turning it into a question. Wilding gives us three prompts she says will help us fire up our creativity and curiosity.
My goal for 2017 is to finally train and run a marathon that will qualify me for Boston. So, using her prompts, I created my questolutions and answers:
How might I….
…stick to a training schedule? (I can hire a coach or join a group that’s focused on Boston.)
What if I….
…improved my eating habits? (I can work with Health Coach Michelle to improve nutrition.)
What do I need/want….
…to help me stay engaged in the training for 6-8 long months? (I can find a training partner or group.)
I think I have my answer: don’t go it alone! I’ll let you know as the year progresses if my resolution “sticks.” So… anyone want to go for a run?
We can only imagine that a place called “Gymsource” is very familiar with the cycle of resolution-to-resignation that many of us fall into. Rewards can be powerful motivators, but as Gymsource warns, find a reward that aligns with your goal rather than working against it. In my case, a really flash pair of running tights from INKnBURN is probably a better reward than a box of donuts.
Key takeaway: “The more you’ll gain by reaching your goals, the less likely you’ll be to turn away from them.”
When we try to do way too many things at once, we get overwhelmed and ultimately give up. Robert Farrington suggests setting goals by priority. This can help you be more realistic about what you can accomplish in a single year.
While Farrington’s prioritization is for financial goals—emergency fund first, then credit card debt, then student loan, then down payment—this step-by-step approach can make any big thing seem much more manageable.
So break down your Big, Scary Resolution into bite-sized chunks, by priority. For me, my first step is draft up a weekly schedule that makes room for training so I won’t beg off with my worn-out “no time!” excuse.
A year can seem like a gloriously long time, amirite? “It’s only January, I have tons of time to get going on that resolution.” But then it’s suddenly March, and I’ve yet to take those first steps, and then I’ve wasted two whole months, I’m already so far behind my goals, so never mind, maybe next year.
Having check points, Anna Johannson says, “keeps you on pace.” You don’t need 50 new contacts by the end of the year, you need four a month. Four is easier to meet, and if you only get three, stepping it up next month to five still seems doable. Course correction is a whole lot simpler when you’re only slightly off track.
For me, the check points are built in to most training schedules, so I just have to make sure I’m getting quality miles and speed workouts (UGH) done according to plan.
BONUS HINT: You can make those check points even more motivating by adding a financial penalty for failure. Make a pledge to give money to a politician you dislike every time you miss the mark, then see how quickly your commitment increases!
Change is hard. Creating new habits is hard. But with the right mind-set, you (and I!) can belong to The Illustrious Unicorns of the Eight Percent.
We’d love to hear your resolutions and your progress towards a happier, healthier life. One of our big goals at Gennev is to provide a support network for women seeking to live their best lives, and we hope you’ll join us by engaging with us and your fellow Gennev-ers. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium!
*We totally made this stat up. But narwhals do have big spiky things on their heads, so it’s not completely impossible, that’s all we’re saying.