“…a little less talk and a lot more action” ~ Toby Keith
It’s the time of the year where we begin planning and talking about our New Year’s Resolutions. It’s the leading topic of conversation at work, home and parties. Planning to make a change in the new year makes sense because we all love a fresh start. Statistic Brain estimates that 45% of Americans are likely to make a resolution this year and half of those resolutions are focused on self-improvement.
The biggest problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that a vast majority of people never achieve them. Statistics show that 1 out of 4 people will drop out after just one week of trying. At best, only 8% of people ever reach their goal.
So, what’s the problem?
In general, we talk more than we act. We over-commit and under-perform. It’s easy to talk about all the things we’re going to do but it’s much more difficult to do them. We underestimate the time, effort, and willpower it takes to meet our commitments. We also overestimate how easy it is to give up.
“People with good intentions make promises. But people with good character keep them.” ~ unknown
How can we create a New Year’s Resolution that will always work?
It’s simple, under-commit and over-perform.
- Set realistic goals. Be brutally honest about the effort it will take. Don’t be afraid to set easier goals in the beginning, especially if you are going to be making a big change.
- Fully commit. Once those goals are in place, fully commit to achieving those goals. Make a promise to yourself that you intend to keep.
- Just do it. Take daily action to meet your goal.
It sounds easy but let’s be honest, there’s a limit to effort and willpower. Shear will, determination, effort, and willpower will only get you so far. To make a real change to your lifestyle, you need to develop habits and patterns. You need to create daily activities and routines that make it easy for you to meet your goals.
Let me give you an example. Say you commit to drinking less soda and more water. Depending on effort and willpower alone to make the right decision every time you go out to eat is difficult. You must rely on willpower several times a day. An easier way would be to always carry a water bottle with you and only drink from it throughout the day. This is a simple routine that, over time, will become a habit.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts… Never, ever ever ever ever give up” ~ Winston Churchill
The other thing to consider is that you are going to fail. You’re going to slip up. You’re going to cheat. You’re going to go back to your old habits. This is where most people give up.
The simple trick to not giving up is to remember Step 3 above, just do it. If you fail one day or even one week, don’t worry or beat yourself up. Start fresh the next day and just keep going. Don’t wait another year before you start again. Remember the promise you made to yourself.
To create a New Year’s Resolution that will always work, be a person of action not just a person of words. Learn how to under-commit and over-perform. Create daily habits and patterns to make it easier to meet your goals. Have the perseverance to never give up, even after failing. Applying these principles will help you become part of the 8% of successful people that achieve their goals.
What do you think? Is this the year you make the big change? Is this the year you fully commit to your goal? Is this your year of action? Is this the year you don’t give up?