2020 – a time for new beginnings, hopes, and dreams. My blog was a huge resolution for me this past year and in the first few days of January millions of people across the world will write resolutions to ring in the new year. With an entire new decade upon us, the idea of creating a clean slate and finding new mountains to climb seems more attractive than ever. It’s a time to begin again.
Despite the initial excitement, resolutions are rarely kept. A study by the University of Scranton in 2018 found that 23% of people quit their goals in the first week and only 8% achieve their desired goal after 1 year. EIGHT PERCENT. I wouldn’t take those odds to Vegas so why would you take them on yourself?
Below is the list of top resolutions for adults in the United States. Why will only 8% of people achieve these goals? What happens? Why are we so motivated in the beginning only to have our goals quickly diminish and, ultimately, forgotten?
One of the biggest reasons individuals don’t achieve their resolutions stems from the belief that most people think they can change overnight. However, temperament and personality research finds that most of us will remain the same at our core throughout our lifetime. While events happen to us that may alter our decision making or ways of approaching life, in our hearts, we are still the same person. This discovery leads to many people quitting their resolutions very early on because they don’t see instant results. The good news: you have the power to change. By finding the ‘why’ behind your resolutions and creating practical accountability strategies you can beat the system and achieve your goals.
So how exactly do you do that? First, write down your resolutions for the upcoming year. I traditionally tell people between 2-5, but it’s completely your call. Then, under each resolution record the following information:
- What are my motivations for achieving my resolution?
- BE HONEST. This is the place where most people get stuck. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds is it because you want to feel healthy and strong to raise your children or is it because you think that losing weight will make people love you? If it’s the latter you are setting yourself up for failure as losing weight will not make people love you more. Your motivations must align with the outcome. If your motivation is in that latter category then I encourage you to ask yourself this next question: What about losing weight do I think will make people love me more? From this deeper questioning you can uncover a strong motivation that will allow you to reach your desired outcome.
- What do I need to give up in my life to achieve my goal?
- This may be challenging for some of you, but if you are adding something new in, you have to let something else go. The answer to this question may involve cutting out certain activities or even types of people to get to where you want to be, but it is absolutely necessary to get you to your goal.
- What are the daily behaviors/beliefs I need to focus on to allow me to reach my goal?
- Behaviors are what make the difference. Goals are simply the outcome of behaviors. Often times when I am asked to do goal setting workshops, I change them into behavior setting workshops, because the behaviors are what make the goals happen. Your goal may have 2 behaviors or 20 behaviors associated with it and both are correct!
After you complete the above exercise, there are two final steps:
- Put your completed paper somewhere that you can look it over at least once a week. The more visible and the more you can remind yourself the better!
- Tell Someone! Make this person your accountability partner and plan a celebration with them when you accomplish your goal. Life is meant to be shared and I guarantee it will make an impact on whether or not you achieve your resolution.
The Undefeated Heart is the name of this blog for a reason. So many people focus on the mind in leadership and wellness training, but it’s really the heart we have to get right first. There’s a saying we use a lot in marathon training that goes, “run the first 1/3 of the race with your head, the 2nd 1/3 with your personality, and the last 1/3 with your heart.” By the end of the race your mind is telling you to quit, but it is your heart that is encouraging you to press on. So press on. Go after your resolutions with a relentless enthusiasm and use your heart to build your dreams.
Be part of that 8% that achieves their dreams – you deserve it.
Cheers to the next and best year of our lives – Happy 2020!