I recently read some stats regarding New Year’s resolutions. According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make New Year's resolutions, and only 8% are successful. That means 92% of those resolutions result in failure! Sigh.
I don’t know about you, but I hate to fail. Even more so, I see no sense in setting oneself up for failure, which we tend to do over and over again with our New Year’s resolutions. Why start off a fresh new year ripe with opportunity, with the likelihood to fail?
Whether to lose weight, reduce debt, get organized, exercise, fall in love or tackle a long awaited task, it’s the small changes you start to institute that will help you toward achieving that worthy goal.
To achieve success, break it down into achievable, small steps instead of dramatic sweeping resolutions that might throw your life into a tizzy.
For example, let’s assume your goal to lose weight and get fit. Take the quiz below, selecting which action you more likely to implement, A or B:
1A. Change my breakfast from daily bagels and butter, to fresh fruit and plain yogurt every other day, ultimately integrating a healthful substitute 6 out of 7 days
1B. Cut out all carbs forever.
2A. Take a power walk for just 10 minutes every other day, increasing the time increment by a few minutes each time, adding some strength training after reaching 30-minute walks.
2B. Go to the gym for two hours every day before work.
3A. Institute “whole foods Wednesday” encouraging my family, friends and co-workers to participate.
3B. Cut out all processed food forever.
If you answered “As,” congratulations, you will create realistic strategies and thus likely to achieve your goals without too much stress.
If you selected “Bs,” I’m afraid you will set yourself up for failure and fast. Yes, you may achieve initial results, but soon you’ll “slip up,” guilt and self-criticism will creep in, and thus more likely to throw in the towel. If the strategies too hard to stick with, I’m afraid you won’t long term.
Cutting out all processed foods, for example, is a noble goal indeed. However even I have trouble achieving that! It takes a lot of planning, transition, understanding and cooking. Instead, slowly replacing processed foods with whole foods an amazing and worthwhile tactic. You will feel great, notice a difference and it will seem seamless.
It’s not your fault! Extreme solutions are the problem, so let’s resolve to lose those and focus on simple strategies that can lead you toward success. Instead of setting really hard and strict rules to follow, set some simple ones. They too will lead to big wins, it just may take a little longer. With patience and self-forgiveness, it will be more fun, less guilt-ridden and a happier path to getting there.
So skip the big dramatic New Year’s resolutions. Instead, write down some areas you’d like to improve. Next to each, write one small change you could start making immediately toward achieving that goal. Perhaps include the next small change you could further implement in a few months. And while you’re at it, write down some things you’re grateful for from 2015. Gratitude for what you have will put you in the best mindset to tackle new goals with gusto going forward!
I look forward to seeing those small changes take shape, and wish you and yours a very happy, healthy MOJO-filled 2016.
With great confidence in you,
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™