Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? More importantly, did you convince yourself that THIS WAS THE YEAR you’d see it through? All too often, after a few weeks of dedication and action, people lose interest, give up, or rationalize how they’ve achieved “enough” of their goal.
Here are 4 rules for the road on how to stick to your New Year’s resolution:
1. It Takes 21 Days to Make a Habit
If you are dedicated to changing something about your life or yourself, it takes 21 days of conscious effort to create a habit. Have you ever noticed why around week 2-3 you either make or break some of your best self-promises? Mark your calendar to encourage yourself at key milestones on the road to your goal. Be your own champion to get past the 21-day hump. If you break your groove now, you are cheating yourself of the opportunity to establish a new habit.
2. Remember Why
You made your resolution for a reason. New Years is the easiest time of year for people to change part of their life. Unfortunately, it is also the easiest time of year for people to give up on positive change. Remind yourself why a particular change means something to you. People rarely choose an easy resolution (and if they do, these are kind of resolutions collecting dust within a week). You chose to make positive change because there is a spark and focus inside you. You can’t start a fire without nursing that spark and giving it the chance to grow.
3. Remember Why NOT
Every year I hear people tell me their resolutions. They want to lose 10 pounds, travel more, quit their job, pursue a life passion, etc., but year after year I hear people make the SAME resolution. Isn’t the goal of a resolution to succeed? This isn’t a whim or social fad; it’s your life. Think about why you might be stuck in the same resolution-cycle year after year and why you’re not seeing results. The key to success is aligning your goals with actual action. A slight adjustment in actionable objectives and refocusing your efforts means the difference between where you are now and where you want to be.
4. Change Doesn’t Have a Season
I’m going to shock you with something. You may want to sit down for this. Ready? OK. You have the power to change your life anytime you want. [GASP] I know, right?! New Years is an amazing time to reflect on what we want for ourselves. It is a magical time of year where we become introspective, examining who we’ve become and what we want in life. Imagine how amazing your life would be if you thought that way every day. Consider taking the idea of a “resolution” out of things for the next few months. Agree to make a new change every month or every quarter for the new year and reality check yourself along the way. Better yet, let’s take the word “change” out of things, too. Agree to obsessively improve yourself and work towards the life you want on a continual basis, 365 days a year, rather than fall into the traps of complacency and sticking with the status quo. The day you stop working for the life you want is the day you give up on yourself.