By now, you’ve seen tons of posts about making New Year’s resolutions and making them stick. You may have also seen an equal number of articles showing how making resolutions fail and what to do next.
Neither are wrong, necessarily. According to research, 25% of people with resolutions have already given up by today (one week). By the end of the year, only 8% will remain. While this sounds awful, resolvers are 10 times more likely to stick with a change than those who do not make resolutions.
So how can we become the successful 8%? We have some ideas! What are yours? Do you make resolutions? How do you make sure change sticks?
Make it easy. Have fun and pick the right scale.
Tim Ferriss, the creative experimenter and author of the 4-Hour Workweek, creates breakthrough change by seeking out the small tweaks that lead to exponential impact. One of his suggestions is to eliminate the obstacles from consideration. For your resolution, what would make it easy or simple to accomplish? What would that look or feel like? Complexity can be overcome by removing it from the equation.
Part of making it easy is choosing the right scale. If your resolution is a massive change, how can you adjust the scale – either the size of the challenge or the time frame to accomplish it – to make it manageable. For example, if your resolution involves a tangible goal, let’s say run a marathon, what would be the first step? What could you do this week?
This creates space for successes along the way and feedback for how you are doing.
Find (or create) supports.
Don’t do it alone. And don’t try to work against the grain of everything else around you. Processes and systems significantly influence individual actions. By using, changing, or creating processes and systems that support your resolution, it will take less effort over time to accomplish.
At the core of processes and systems are habits. Habits not only make change possible, but ensure the change lasts. The habits that encourage (or discourage) you will make the difference.
Reflection is a habit, one that can have exponential impact. Whatever your resolution, here is a simple set of questions to consider each day to help you make progress. Take no more than five minutes in the morning and evening to complete the reflections and question. Note that they are intentionally phrased in an appreciative inquiry model using strengths-based thinking.
• Think back on past relationships.
• Think forward to an opportunity ahead.
• Reflect on a recent win.
• Be mindful of a simple ‘something’ nearby.
• What would make today great?
• List 3 amazing things that happened (for the skeptical, this can be tougher to reflect. Perhaps rephrase to what were the three most amazing things?)
• What could have made today better?
For the data nerds (ahem, Ben), you can journal these reflections in spreadsheets to track progress over time. For the rest of us, simple consideration at the start and end of the day works just fine.
Looking for more resources? Beth Kanter’s blog is a great source of inspiration and Headspace is a great app for reflection.
Do you make resolutions? How do you make sure change sticks? What other resources would you recommend? Share in the comments or on the social media links below – we would love to spread more ideas!