Resolutions. We make them. We break them. Usually, within the first three months of the year. So why do we even bother making them in the first place?
The start of a new year is just that – the start of something new. It’s an external force, much like a birthday, that allows you to reflect on your life. What changes did you hope to achieve last year? Did you succeed?
This is then followed by an emotion – such as a feeling of excitement like “I want to do EVEN MORE this year”, or it may be the pain of “Enough is enough. I’m not going to go through that again this year.”
It’s the emotion that turns into a decision to change, a decision to resolve to do things differently. So now you need to set an achievable goal.
If you start with an unrealistic goal or you set yourself too many goals, research shows you’re far less likely to achieve them. So instead, ask yourself “What is the ONE thing I want to change in my life in this new year?”
Now, imagine that you have achieved that goal. How will it make you feel? Your emotions are intrinsically connected to how well your new resolution will stick. These three things need to be present for change to happen:
If the emotions you feel around change are strong, more messages are sent to your brain telling you that the change is really important. This is often one of the reasons that change occurs when something really good or really bad happens. Visualisation is a great way to enhance the emotions you feel about the things you want – you can even create a vision board if your goals are something you can see, and this will serve as a daily reminder.
Our brains are wired to maximise pleasure and minimise pain; this can often mean we take the easy way out when things become challenging. Accountability is critical to making change happen. Find ways to hold yourself or have other people hold you accountable to the steps you need take in on your goal journey.
Change is rarely a one-time event. It’s not possible to lose 10 kg in a day or save for a holiday with just one paycheck. You need to plan for and layer in your learnings so that you give yourself the best chance of success. Make sure you write down your goals. Even if you’re not 100% sure about what you want the exact outcome to be, you can at least start down that path and along the way you will be able to narrow it down by trying things relating to your dream.
So, don’t give up making those new year’s resolutions, just make sure that your tap into your emotions before you set them, and you’ll have the best chance of making them stick!