New Year’s resolutions are tricky things to do correctly, and most people tend to give up on them pretty quickly.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. In a helpful article in Forbes, life coach Rosie Guagliardo helps identify some of the challenges with keeping on resolutions. Overall, she emphasizes the need to fully understand why we are making our resolutions and why the goals are important to us.
Perhaps surprisingly, less than 10 percent of people who make resolutions manage to stick with them a whole year. Part of the problem, according to Guagliardo, comes from the fact that we tend to make resolutions on specific measurable goals, like losing a certain amount of weight.
Instead, we need to think about what outcomes we really value. Are we trying to lose weight? Or feel healthier and have more energy? If it’s really the latter, then that needs to be our resolution.
She argues that situating our resolutions in deeply desired outcomes, rather than superficial goals, makes us actually motivated to accomplish them. It may even lead us to realize the superficial goals, like weight loss, as a path towards our more desired outcomes.
As a concerted resolution strategy, Guagliardo recommends selecting three desired outcomes. For each, she recommends actions that will realize each, urging us to specifically schedule time for these actions. This will foster a sense of ritualized behavior, where the regularity increases our commitment.
Of course this does not mean that setbacks won’t happen. However, within this framework, she provides a series of cognitive steps that can help manage these. Namely, we need to verify whether we are having setbacks because we really don’t want the outcome we claim to.
She urges us to think critically about whether this is an outcome we really want. Is it an actual desire or some form of obligation? The latter will be much harder to stick with. It might help to take a moment to visualize the outcome and to think about whether we would prefer to live that way.
This sort of visualization may also involve us thinking about the outcome as a preparation. Maybe we don’t care that much about having more energy as such but are excited at the idea that this would allow us to realize a certain ambition that requires more energy, like taking up dance or hiking more.
However, it’s important to realize that in a busy time, we may simply not feel that we have the energy to accomplish any of these tasks.
It might then be helpful to partner up with someone who has similar goals. This can help keep us on track. Moreover, situating our desires in a goal based in happiness can also help encourage us to keep going, even if it seems hard.
Hopefully these are some helpful tips for all of you. You might also want to review our blog from a couple years ago that helps outline some tips for making resolutions in the first place.
Regardless, we wish you luck and a very happy 2019!