Another year is coming to a close and it’s that time of year when many people start reflecting about the year that was, some people are just looking forward to the holiday season whilst others are already planning their upcoming year.
Planning my year ahead is something that I see as very important and reflecting back on the achievements and what I learned in the past year is even more important and I am on a constant journey on improving myself, my life and impacting the people around me including my family and clients.
Being human 🙂 I don’t’ always achieve my goals however the more focus I am putting into the process, the better I am getting at it and an proud that I have been able to transform some of my new year’s resolutions into permanent permanent lifestyle changes.
In many of the studies and statistics that I have read, about up to 40% of the population will make a new year’s resolution and on average only 10% of these people successfully achieve their new year’s resolution. These statistics highlight the struggles of many people who are seeking transformation in their lives however are not getting the results they want or need. Instead of focusing permanent why people stick to their new year’s resolutions, I want to provide you with a solution and perspective on how you can make new year’s resolutions permanent.
By Far the most common new year’s resolutions are set in the area of health such as losing weight, choosing more healthy food options, exercising more regularly, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol. This is followed by professional and personal resolutions such as spending less time on the internet and social media, reading more books, helping charities, creating a better work/life balance, improving relationships and family life, saving money, pursuing new career options and learning something new.
So…If you’re just about to set yours for the new year and you feel you failed again in the last year, maybe NOW would be the perfect opportunity to get a new perspective and the changing your approach to setting and achieving your new year’s resolutions and then making them permanent!
Below are the steps that I have been successful with both personally and with many of my coaching clients to achieving any goal and making their new year’s resolutions stick. I have simplified it into 7 steps;
1. Create it on your terms with SMART outcomes
Two things here;- Create the resolution on your terms. Find or create a reason why you need to want to implement it, achieve it and make it permanent. Think about what will it cost you if you do not reach your goal and visualize how great life will be when you’ve achieved it. – If you have ever learnt how to set a goal using the S.M.A.R.T outcomes then you would know that they need to be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME DRIVEN.
A simple example of a SMART goal would be “My goal is to walk for 30 minutes, 3 times per week, for the next 12 months”
2. Set the intention
In other words direct your mind to the purpose and plan and focus towards it. In this case it will be achieving your new year’s resolution. You need a plan and you need to be focused on the plan and the outcomes. Part of your plan could be getting educated or hiring a coach or an expert in the area you want to achieve. You may need to join a support group or partner with someone who has similar goals and outcomes.
To stay focused, review your goals daily. In the morning and prior to bed is a great way to stay focused. Eliminate clutter and distractions and include small wins into your plan.
3. Make the decision
A few tips on making decisions; if you typically go with your gut or your head and you have great success with your approach then continue to do it your way. If it hasn’t been working for you, then you need to change your approach. In some cases you may need to get a balanced view on your gut feeling and logical thinking, tell someone that will hold you accountable, remind yourself of the cost and pain if you don’t make the decision and pleasure associated once you’ve committed to your decision and reached your goal. What will it mean for you, your loved ones, your career, your health or your business?
And… just make a decision and move forward!
4. Create a new identity
Your need to stay consistent with your identity is a driving force for you to reach your goals and permanent changes. To create permanent change for the better, you need to find a new identity. This new identity will learn and adopt new traits, new habits, new meanings, new actions and new rituals that you will need to have your best year ever!
Example, If you want to become healthy you may need to learn the traits of an athlete and model your identity on this. Think about what are the daily habits of an athlete, what would they be focusing on and what they say to themselves when they need to perform. Athletes respect their bodies, eat well, train consistently and are disciplined.
With your new identity, you can give it a name; associate it to a character, a face or symbol. You may also decide to give it a voice or think of a word or phrase that you can associate with this new identity. Also you need to understand what traits your new identity will need to be action focused, results focused and you need to be clear on the mission. In this case clarity is power!
5. You must take action
I am not going to make a statement on how long it will take to make your New Year’s resolution stick as it would be different for everyone. In summary, it will be determined by your need to stay consistent with your new identity. It may take you 21 days or 60 days or maybe even 12 months, however for longer term sustainable change, the end is determined by the beginning. It is important that you look at chunking it down into days or weeks and setup some check points to see how you are tracking. Some people usually set the first phase up for 7 days or 21 days and this is where the heavy lifting is done. This is where your “Should’s” need to become “Musts”.
Take 1 action that keeps you engaged and consistent with your new identity and that will help you make your new year’s resolution permanent.
6. Living It
Once you have progressed through the initial stage and you’re getting some results, this is where your new identity needs to take the lead. It will lead you through all the tests all the challenges and all the temptation. Again it is important that you maintain an environment that supports your new transformation. This is the phase where you influence the ones you love, friends, colleagues and strangers. There is no greater feeling than achieving a goal and its gets even better when you use what you’ve learned to help transform others.
Although I encourage you to celebrate your wins, you need to be conscious of not getting too comfortable and look forward to stepping it up to the next level.
7. Stepping it up to the next Level
Even with results, consistency and momentum, you still need to remain congruent with your new identity. This is where you take everything you have learned to progress to the next level. Ensure you review your environment for success; continue to educate your family and friends on your mission. The ones you love and the ones that love you will be proud of you and will support you. Work with your coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist and support networks to reset your goals to ensure you thrive to the next level.
I wish you the very best in your New Year and hope that your life will be transformed for you and by you and your new year’s resolutions will become permanent. If you need help implementing these 7 steps, reach out here!