Everyone has had New Year’s resolution, and the majority of those never seem to pan out Rather it’s going to the gym or sticking to the family budget. Typically this is because the outcome is more significant than any result you’ve made in the specific area. So it could be saving $10,000 over 12 months when you’ve not saved $100 in your lifetime. Or losing 50 pounds, when you’ve been on the trajectory of gaining weight.
Here are a few ways to design a New Year Resolution that sticks.
1. Determine 2 Ideal Outcomes for your New Year’s Resolution
I believe in building out your resolutions in sets of two because of the need for motivation throughout the year to stick to your goal. You should base one of the outcomes on a need in your life. This outcome could be the need for weight loss, the need to fix your financial situations, or giving up cigarettes. The other should be a want, something along the lines of purchasing a new car, saving $10,000, or buying the new iMac Pro.
For me, building resolutions in sets of 2 outcomes allow for continued motivation with the progression gets tough or even when the idea of having a “new year resolution” isn’t cool anymore because it’s July. In your regular day-to-day to-do list, you’ll see how motivation may differ for a need-to-do versus a want-to-do. Your motivation to clean your room because your mom told you so as a kid was significantly less than your motivation to go to the mall because you wanted a new pair of shoes.
So with having the two outcome-based resolutions, some of the excitement from the want-based outcome will keep some motivation in the need-based outcome.
2. Identify Points of Measurement
Having a resolution that is measurable is a must! A quantitative outcome is always best in my book. You want to be able to count your progress toward your goal. Defining the quantitative measurement is easy for some, and harder to find in other goals. For weight loss, you’re counting loss in pounds. Savings; $’s. Purchasing a new car would be first identifying how much you must have saved to buy and the income necessary monthly to afford it so $’s would become your measurement again.
3. Celebrate Periodical Accomplishments
Celebrating points of achievements throughout the journey provide much-needed motivation to stick it out. If you’re paying off $12,000 in debt over the next 12 months, celebrate each payment of $1,000 and celebrate the half-way mark.
When you’re progressing towards the ideal outcome of the New Year Resolution, you must remain consistent. To do so, you may block out time on your calendar every day to work out or a recurring appointment to transfer money into your savings account on the 2nd day of the month. When building out a consistent plan to accomplish your goal, your discipline is building a habit. Once your habit is formed, achieving the outcome is a lot easier.
Based on a study completed by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes 66 days of discipline to build a habit. This means you must go to the gym consistently for approximately two months on average before the gym becomes an “automatic” thing for you. 66 days of disciplined action build habit.
5. Analyze & Recalibrate
One of the essential things throughout the journey of achieving a New Year resolution, you must periodically pause and evaluate how you’re progressing on your journey. If you realize that it’s a lot harder to lose 12 pounds or puts your family in an awkward financial position to pay off $12,000 of debt based off our your measurement points, redesign your resolution. This decision could be losing 1/2 a pound a month instead of 1, resulting in an annual loss of 6 pounds instead of 12. On the other end, you may realize it’s effortless, so you decide to lose 24 pounds instead.
6. Celebrate Your Accomplishment
Throw a party to celebrate your win! You’ve done it, so build up a boatload of motivation for the next goal, by recognizing for yourself that you’ve accomplished this one.
Also published on Medium.