Can you believe that we’ll enter into a new year in four short weeks?
As another year comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on what went well, what we could do better, and anything we might need to adjust. We look forward to a fresh start and many of us resolve to change something.
Hoping for change, half of Americans set New Year’s resolutions. Of those who set resolutions, only half succeed for at least six months. Less than 10 percent actually achieve their resolution. The average person is said to make the same resolution 10 times. It’s no wonder less than half of us even try.The average person is said to make the same resolution 10 times. Click To Tweet
There’s no secret sauce or magic pill. We know what we want. We know what we need to do to get there. The hard part is implementation and holding ourselves accountable.
I’m speaking from experience. I had my fair share of bad habits when I was young and dumb. Heck, I still do dumb things from time to time.
One of the most embarrassing things I did was smoke cigarettes. Back then they were cheap and you could smoke pretty much anywhere. When you’re young, you have a naïve sense of invincibility. It’s easy to create bad habits that are difficult to change as you mature.
It began as all bad habits do, I just wanted to fit in. It was disgusting, but I did it anyway. Then I got hooked. I wanted to quit but it was really, really hard.
My birthday is the day before New Year’s Eve, so every year I said, “I’m going to have my last cigarette on my 21st birthday, 22nd birthday… 30th…” This is how I learned that resolutions simply don’t work. I wondered how all those super achievers flourished, while I keep making the same resolutions year after year? That’s what I set out to learn and it has become an obsession ever since.
Keep in mind that everyone is wired and motivated differently. There’s not a one size fits all solutions. It’s a process of experimenting, monitoring your behaviors and adjusting as necessary. These five tips have helped me change my habits and I think they will help you too.
5 Tips to Rethink Resolutions & Finally Get What You Want
1 – Think of Your Life as a Movie, Not a Picture
What you do today isn’t that big of a deal if you’re in the habit of looking at your life on a day by day basis. You see your life as a picture. What you see is what you get.
When you begin to extend your timeline, today’s activities become much more relevant. Understanding that today’s choices will affect your life 20 years from now is when real change begins to happen. You begin to see your life as a movie in which each act builds up to the ending.Understanding how today’s choices will affect your life 20 years from now is when change happens. Click To Tweet
When you see your life as a movie, you’ll begin to notice the progress you’ve made. You’ll choose your own adventure. You’ll understand that there are no shortcuts. And you’ll commit to building the life that you want, one tiny step at a time.
2 – Forget About the Result, Focus on the Habit
If you want to change in your life, you need to create new habits. Then you need to commit to those habits for life.
Whether you want to lose weight, save money, or become a better spouse, you must stop focusing on the desired result. Instead, commit to a lifestyle change. It’s not sexy. But it works.
Losing weight, for example, is all about habits. Start walking for 30 minutes during your lunch break. Once that becomes a habit, start bringing your lunch to work. Then stop putting sugar in your coffee. When you’re comfortable with that, limit how often you eat out. By then you’ll be ready to start a weight training routine. Next, you can increase the amount of water you drink. And before you know it, you will have changed your life, one tiny habit at a time.Before you know it, you will have changed your life, one tiny habit at a time. Click To Tweet
3 – Shift Your Focus from the Change to the Why
It’s impossible to be successful with change until we have a really good why. We often try to change because we think we should or because someone told us to. Neither of those reasons work long-term.We often try to change because someone told us to. That never works out long-term. Click To Tweet
Whatever change you are trying to make, take some time to reflect on the why. Drill down and continue to ask yourself why until your answer resonates deep within your soul. Then focus on your why and the change will follow.
For example, if your goal is to get your finances in order, the process to uncover your why would go like this.
I want to pay off my credit cards and start building an emergency fund. Why? Because I’m sick of feeling broke all of the time. Why? Because it’s stressful. Why? Because I don’t feel like I have control over my life. Why? Because I can’t fulfill my family’s wants and needs. Why? Because I make impulse purchases and struggle to tell myself no. Why? Because I feel like I’m failing as a spouse and a parent. Why? Because I want my children’s lives to be different. I don’t want them to struggle like this as adults.
And that is how to find your why. It’s not always pretty, but it’s an essential part of creating change that lasts.
4 – Start Today
Don’t wait until the New Year. For that matter, don’t wait until Monday. If you really want to change, you must be willing to start today.
When we look at our goals, it’s easy to get lost focusing on the big daunting number that today, seems impossible. We might need to lose 50 pounds, pay off $25,000 in student loans, or declutter our entire home. Instead of focusing on the big goal, pick one small thing and start today. Stop putting cream and sugar in your coffee. Put an extra $100 toward the principle of your loan. Set aside an hour to clean out your closet. Baby step your way to success, and START NOW!
What you can put off until Monday, you can put off indefinitely. If it’s important to you, take action and start today.What you put off until Monday, you put off indefinitely. If it’s important, start today. Click To Tweet
5 – Stop Making Resolutions
The key to finally make your resolutions a reality is to stop making them. Resolutions are vague wishes. What works is setting goals. When you set goals, you create measurements and timelines. You begin to develop a plan to get there.
There’s a plethora of advice on the internet about goal setting. I’ve learned from experience that it’s not so cut and dry. There’s not a one size fits all formula for achieving your goals. For me, it’s been a process of understanding and adapting my behaviors.There’s not a one size fits all formula. It’s a process of understanding and adapting behaviors. Click To Tweet
Since achieving goals isn’t as simple as the acronym SMART, I set out to create an EBook titled, Rethink Resolutions. I thought I could finish it in a month and have it ready for you by the end of November. As I began working on it, it morphed into something bigger. It is becoming a comprehensive guide for creating your life from the inside out, 54 pages and counting.
It’s far from complete. But setting goals isn’t something to be reserved for the New Year so it will be valuable any time. When it’s finished, I’ll have special offers and free copies for my subscribers. If you’re not signed up, you can do so here. In the meantime, I invite you to download last year’s free goal setting guide. It’s a great start to rethinking resolutions and creating great goals.
The power to finally change your life is within you. It’s actually been there all along. By thinking long-term to build habits around a strong why you’ll be able to start working toward great goals today.
What has helped you create better habits?
Share in the comments below.