Drum roll please… According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology this month, the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions are:
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others in their dreams
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family
How about you? Did you make resolutions this year? Well if you did, according to the same research, you are not alone, as about 45% of North Americans make New Year’s resolutions! Unfortunately, only about 8% keep or achieve them!!!! Yikes, that’s kind-of depressing, huh?
For you 45%ers, read on for tips on how you can actually succeed, regardless of what your New Year’s Resolutions are this year, because repeating the same resolution year-in and year-out begins to feel like Groundhog’s Day after a while, but without the charming enclave of Punxsutawney.
Scrap those resolutions. Let’s get crackin’ on some actual, big changes that stick. Did you start the year with great intentions, but didn’t follow through and are making the same resolutions this year?
The key to resolution success is to Make Habits NOT Resolutions! A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something,” which says nothing about behavior. New Year’s resolutions are merely a proclamation; however, a habit is “a usual way of behaving: something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.” Heck yeah! Plant some habits on me—I want some actual change—you feel me?
The key to habit-making is baby stepping. For me, as the ball dropped, I was close to proclaiming I would meditate an hour every morning at 6am. However, given that waking up early is pure torture and that my meditation muscles are weak and flabby, I chose instead to make a new habit–to meditate every day for 5 minutes (whenever). Yep, just 5 minutes, because I can do that. Yesterday I successfully met my goal and today I exceeded it by 25 minutes (not at 6am) and tomorrow who knows? By the end of the year, maybe I‘ll be proudly perched on a pillow at 6am “omming” for 4 hours! What matters is that by the end of 2014, I will be fully ingrained in a meditation habit. Give yourself baby steps and then when you overachieve, be ecstatic. Don’t give yourself a new habit that scares the begeezus out of you because you’ll break that 2014 habit faster than Colorado weather changes.
The other problem I see is folks that achieve their resolution, but are unhappy. Achieving a goal is not the same thing as succeeding. Focus on the final outcome (the why behind your why). Why do you want to change your weight? Is it really about a number or is that you want to have more energy or feel stronger? If you lose weight, but do it in an unhealthy way and end up with less vitality, you will never feel happy with the completion of your goal. Focusing on the outcome and taking steps to create that outcome will make you feel better in the long run. Perhaps you want to have a stronger body, so you might create a habit (not a resolution) to do yoga every day (that’s right, for 5 minutes, baby!). Or you want to have more energy and you choose to eat healthier to achieve that with the new habit of eating at least one green veggie every day (just 1, you can do that right?). Or like me, maybe you need to clear away some overwhelm in your life and settle on meditation as a tool for accomplishing that.
You got this! No matter how small, it’s better to create a new habit this year than to be repeating the same resolution next year demoralized.