This is the time when many set New Year Resolutions. It is a time when our ‘clocks’ reset and we start a new year again with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. It is also a time when we promise to achieve something new. We make resolutions (promises) to lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with loved ones, learn a new language, take up a new hobby, etc. etc. etc. The list is endless.
In many situations these resolutions are forgotten as life takes over and we resume ‘normality’. We might promise to get back to the resolutions at some point in the future, possibly after we get past some ‘blocking’ incident. I read once that a New Year’s Resolution is a todo list for the first week in January.
The problem is that in some situations, when we stop pursuing our resolutions, we feel sorry. We might even blame ourselves or consider our inability to achieve the result as a failure. Some might even say things to themselves like “I knew I couldn’t do it” or, “I never achieve what I set out to do”. Very limiting and degrading statements. They are statements that we then use to beat ourselves up with as we take on other tasks during the year. So why should we put ourselves through that? Why bother with New Year Resolutions at all?
New Year Resolutions can be very beneficial and rewarding if we do them right, follow through and achieve them. We feel motivated as well as a huge sense of achievement when we successfully complete them. This success can even propel us to achieve more, to take on more challenges. In short, achieving our targets help us to realise more in our lives.
So if they are so good an idea, why do so many of us not see our resolutions through? Why do we end up in situations where we feel that we have failed?
Did you know that the success (or not) of your Resolution depends on how you phrase the actual promise?
When deciding on New Year Resolutions we tend to use vague, non-committal language that gives us an ‘out’ if we need it. We tend to say things like “I should stop smoking” or “I must lose weight” or “For the New Year, I could join a Gym and get fit for the summer”. All great desires, but saying things like “should”, “must” or “could” we are not committing to out goal, we are merely expressing a wish.
If you want to make a New Year’s Resolution succeed you need to commit to it. Wishful language doesn’t do this. In order to give yourself the best chance of success your resolution must:
- Be expressed in terms of commitment, e.g. “I WILL stop smoking”
- Time based, e.g. “I WILL stop smoking by Easter“
With these two simple steps you are both committing and setting yourself a deadline for the success of your goal. Once you have set your resolution in this format, you have given yourself a commitment and a deadline. This means you will be able to track your progress, realise how you are succeeding and use that as a motivator to reach the goal.
But there is a longer term benefit to setting and achieving your goals; self-belief. By achieving your goals you will be proving to yourself that you CAN set your mind to something and CAN achieve it. This will build your confidence and self-belief which will open you up to tackling new goals and ACHIEVING THEM.
And it all starts with how you phrase the goals/resolutions you set at this time of the year.
Why not use the start of 2013 as a time for a New Beginning for YOU?
- Decide what you want to achieve (using the language of commitment),
- Set a deadline,
- Write down your goal and check it daily,
- Decide on a reward/bonus that you can have once you have achieved your goal.
Give it a try. What have you got to lose?
You might surprise yourself and 2013 might be the beginning of a New You…