Each year, millions of people set personal resolutions to change, to do something different and to improve themselves somehow. The idea of a resolution suggests a current status of inadequacy and a need to make drastic and difficult changes. The term New Year’s Resolution has become synonymous with impending failure. While 45% of the population set resolutions, according to University of Scranton Journal of Pyschology, only 8% of Americans succeed in keeping the behaviours or achieving their goals. Sad facts. New Year’s Resolutions don’t work.
This year, change your approach. Instead of setting resolutions, take on a Personal Challenge and Best Yourself. Taking on a personal challenge will allow you to move yourself towards your goals with a new perspective. Something as simple as changing the language you use to set your goals can have a powerful impact on your perception and actions. This in turn will lead to a higher likelihood of goal achievement and a lower probability that you will be setting the same resolutions again next year.
In setting your personal challenge(s) for this year consider the following:
Challenge your behaviours. While your goal is ultimately to achieve an end result, focusing on results can lead to constant feelings of failure even as you creep towards achievement. This year, choose to challenge your behaviours. You are 100% in control of your personal behaviours and this will allow you to reward yourself based on your decisions and actions instead of the hard result which can often travel a non-linear path and take longer than expected.
Focus on your strengths. Instead of setting resolutions that target the areas you are consistently challenged with (and in reality are not so good at) target the behaviours and results you have already shown success with. You are far more likely to succeed with a personal challenge when you already have a platform for success. Regardless of your goal for this year, there MUST be something you are doing already, to which you could make small improvements that would result in progressing towards achieving success with your personal challenge. Find these strengths and make commitments to improve on these current behaviours. Build your toolkit with 6 Questions to Coach Yourself to Best Yourself
Frame your actions positively. Increase certain behaviours versus decreasing or stopping others. Needing to stop doing something insinuates that you need to give up something that has been a part of your routine. Dropping habits is one of the hardest behavior changes and focusing on removing behaviours will position you to fail. When you focus instead on increasing the time or frequency of the positive behaviours that are the platform for achievement of your personal challenge, you will inevitably run out of time, motivation and money for the things you actually want to cut-out. This positioning also allows you to have a few oopsies where you do the things that you wanted to cut-out. But because you didn’t actually commit to cutting them out, you don’t suffer from the guilt, feelings of failure and ensuing set-backs from your goals.
Track your progress. Make sure you know how you will track your choices and behaviours so you can keep yourself focused and motivated. A daily journal and scoring system will work wonders to keep yourself in check. Make sure you write your personal challenges in the front of the journal so that you can remind yourself on any days you get off track. Of course there are also all kinds of fancy gadgets to track behaviours if you’re into the high-tech stuff.
Reward yourself. Review of the actions you have outlined in your personal challenge and ensure you have check-in points to reward yourself for achievement. Your check-in points will need to be set at reasonable intervals. You won’t get much from rewarding yourself the first time you execute on your plan. Similarly, you will lose motivation if you wait 3 months before giving yourself kudos. Set appropriate reward points for each behavior depending on the criteria. For ideas on rewards, check out Stay on Track to Best Yourself with Small Rewards.
As you build you plans for the new year, and look to the changes you want to make. Start by changing how you do your goals setting. To get a different result, you need to do things differently.
To secure your personal success this year, Scrap the resolution.
Know YOUR Best. Challenge YOUR Best. BEST YOURSELF.
Additional Resources to Best Yourself as you head into 2015