It's that time of year again - that time when we resolve to do things differently, to make change… to lose weight, stop smoking etc. What better way to start the new year than by making a big change in your life. However, the failure rate of new year's resolutions is very high. A 2007 study conducted by Richard Wiseman of the University of Bristol showed that 88% of those that set new year's resolutions failed. Other studies have shown even higher failure rates.
So how can you succeed? Heres a few points that you can use to help ensure you meet your goals.
1. One or two goals only. It takes a lot of effort to make change - so keep it simple.
2. Define your goal exactly. Be clear, write it down. Write it in your journal, or on post-it notes. Put it in your car, at work, around your home and carry a copy of it with you. Example: "My nails look healthy and good." "I find myself more and more compassionate and nice." You can turn this into a mantra and recite it often.
3. Re-frame it positively. Instead of stopping smoking, maybe you can resolve to breathing more fresh air while reducing cigarettes gradually. This is especially important if you have been smoking or exercising an unwanted behavior for many years. Realize at the start that you will have bad days and backslide. When this happens, be compassionate to yourself and realize you are only human. Get back on track and into the right mindset.
4. Set yourself up for success. If you are wanting to exercise more, hang out more with the people that have a like mindset. If you are trying to stop your nail biting - get a manicure. Watch YouTube videos that give you inspiration to exercise or achieve the specific goal you want. The bottom-line is if you are trying to change a behavior, you will need to really examine the people, places and circumstances around you. It may mean joining and attending a support meeting, it may mean giving up coffee, if coffee triggers you to smoke, it may mean changing a nightly routine that ends with you sitting in front of the television
May you have a happy and healthy 2015!
Scott Howard is a professional executive coach and leadership coach focusing on human empowerment and maximizing potential.