How to make your resolutions stickier

January 15, 2013

Self-discipline

sticky_couchI hear a lot of people disparaging New Year’s resolutions. People say: I don’t do resolutions because they don’t work. I disagree. Well, I agree they don’t work but the reason they don’t work isn’t because they are resolutions. That’s just a label. Call it whatever you want. They don’t work because we never really committed.

If your resolution was nothing more than a grand statement made on New Year’s Day about something you’d start tomorrow, punctuated by another pull on your Bloody Mary, of course it was never going to stick.

You cannot create change without commitment. Real commitment includes thought and planning about the why’s, how’s and what’s that form and inform your goal.

Know your “why,” then make a commitment and a plan.

I wrote recently about measuring our goals, after which a smart commenter (and friend, Rob) reminded me that we should always start with why. Thinking about the deep reasons behind why we want to achieve something helps with motivation and stick-to-it-iveness. If your goal is to lose weight or start a blog, envision how your life will be different and better with that piece incorporated.

Start with a clear understanding of why you want to achieve your goal, sorta like a mini mission statement, followed by what you need to do to get there (activities) and what success looks like (outcomes). No need to get super-complicated but a plan is required.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

So don’t blow off resolutions. But don’t just make a wish and cross your fingers either. The beginning of a new year is a natural time to think about how you’d like to be different at the year’s end. Resolve to strive for some stretch goals and make a plan to achieve them.

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Thanks to chiaraogan for the “sticky couch” image that was too cute to resist.

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