It’s NOT a news flash: new year’s resolutions DON’T WORK! A plethera of research over the last 2 decades has shown us that on average 75% fail within 6 weeks, 85% within 3 months. Simply listing a few things we want to “be” or “change about ourselves” in the new year is a recipe for failure! Whether we lose sight of them, lose motivation or willpower to achieve them, get lazy, or just plain bored is different for everyone. But most experts in motivation psychology agree that in order to make positive, forward progress in our lives in some way, we need to shift our focus from a ‘new me for the new year,’ to more of a permanent, lasting altered version of ourselves that we want to become, and it takes a few very important elements:
- A clear, compelling VISION of what you want to become / change / do…and the more exciting and attractive it is to you, the more likely it is to continue it’s pull on you, even when the going gets tough. But the vision MUST be backed up by:
- A deeply felt PURPOSE or REASON for becoming or doing whatever it is that you envision becoming or doing
- An ACTION PLAN that is realistic, well thought out, and even shared with others who can help support you in your quest
- New HABITS & RITUALS that bring your vision to fruition!
Number 3 & 4 is where the actual goals (or would be new year’s resolutions), come from. But they MUST be born out of # 1 & 2, or else they will fall by the wayside, as happens with 85% of people, in less than 3 months.
So, if a vision of what you want to do or be is not clear, start with that. Ask yourself a few questions, like:
- What is my best version of myself?
- What do I enjoy doing / being the most? (you may find you lose track of time or forget to eat or go to the bathroom when doing this)
- Who are people I admire, respect (or possibly even envy) the most & what do I like so much about them or what they do?
Often your purpose, or reason, also becomes more clear by answering these questions.
Then it’s time to setup an action plan – clear steps to take in order to realize the vision / dream. This includes the time frame, any resources (knowledge, time, money) you’ll need and either have or don’t have, and what are the most important / powerful steps needed to take in order to succeed. These need to be specific, measurable, & written down!
Lastly, establish clear & consistent habits / behaviors / rituals that become automatic and you DON’T SACRIFICE, under almost any circumstance.
Remember, change is something that happens to all of us all the time, automatically, without us doing anything – the weather, the economy, our energy & mood, our age, etc…- but making it be positive, forward progress or growth is deliberate and requires CONSISTENT EFFORT & COMMITMENT! You must have the vision, see the end result, and decide that it’s important enough to take on the commitment & make the effort to become something different / better / more…
….may the force of positive change (& good vision) be with you….