Trust me. I was your typical resolutioner for many years of my life. Year after year, I scribbled out all of the ways that my life was going to look different in the upcoming year and proudly tacked it up to my wall. This year was different, I would say.
And like most people, by the end of January that piece of paper was just taking up wall space, until I would eventually rip it down months later when I realized none of it was actually going to happen.
Roughly 45% of Americans set New Years resolutions. I think it’s refreshing that so many people know that they are capable of more and are motivated to go get it. Yet, less than half of those people are still going 6 months later and less than 10% of resolutions are actually successful.
So, what should you do instead?
Focus on the process, not the end result
There’s a lot of research that shows that focusing on outcome based goals is actually the wrong way to go about it. Instead, we should set our sights on the actual things that are going to get us there. If you want to lose weight, instead of setting a weight loss goal, perhaps you could commit to exercising a certain number of times per week. Instead of saying you want to eat better, you could focus on eating home-cooked meals a certain number of days per week.
2. Get a habit tracker
Jerry Seinfeld, well-known comedian and star of one of the longest running cable television shows of all time, said the key to becoming a better comedian was to write jokes for 20 minutes a day AND then to put a big red X on a wall calendar every time you nail it. Eventually, he said, you won’t want to break the chain of Xs. And if you do miss a day, you’ll want to get back on track much quicker than had you not been tracking.
If you’re focused on heading to the gym 3 days per week, track it. And reward yourself with that hard-earned X. (It actually will release a feel-good chemical you brain, called dopamine).
The habit tracker I use. Notice the improvement mid-way through the month after I started using it.
3. Use a vision board
Even though a vision board is more outcome-based, it can be really effective for some people, especially when used in-tandem with #1 and #2. Pictures in our mind dictate how we feel. How we feel impacts what we do. There will be days where you just don’t FEEL like doing what you said you were going to do. Being able to *see* the end game (a picture of the beach where summer vacation is going to be, for example) can give you the willpower-juice to get through those tougher days.
Don’t be another New Years Resolution Statistic. Do these three things and begin to move towards the version of yourself that you seek.