09 Jan Why New Year Resolutions Don’t Work And How To Make Them Last
It is beginning of January and a bit more than one week since you, like many other people, made New Year resolutions. Let me guess: even now you start struggling with their execution. Your motivation to achieve those health, career and life goals dwindles away with every day. Don’t worry, this is normal. Usually New Year Resolutions don’t work. At least they don’t work the way you think they should work.
To make your New Year resolutions really last, you need to focus on creating the winning habits that will help achieve your goals. We are the product of environment and often fall into routines that we’ve been having for years. However to achieve new results, we need to think and act differently. And acting in a new way is often a challenge without creating new frameworks – supportive environment and new habits.
As Dr. Joe Dispenza is writing in his book “Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself”, human brain saves energy by automating the behavior and putting these commands into the subconscious. The very first step to changing this behavior is awareness. For example, you notice that you are in the habit of sitting up late writing your report, and you catch yourself craving for fast food to accompany this business.
The second step is to make a firm decision which you definitely do with New Year Resolutions. You’ve decided to change this behavior, finish work on time in the office and lose extra kilos.
But the third step is always missing: continuous step by step implementation of your plan. You are doing your best and all of a sudden more work is piling up, and you find yourself sitting up late with those reports and chips again. The environment is so strong that you can’t change your habits. You’ll be rewarded for a great report – but nobody will reward you for going to bed earlier.
Your motivation to lead healthy life dwindles away without proper stimulus like reward and recognition. Unfortunately our environment often doesn’t support our aspirations. And only when it comes to crisis, for example burnout and heart issues in this case, people react.
How can we flip the coin and create the winning habits to achieve our goals and dreams?
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1. Your WHY should be bigger than your excuses
Write down a very serious WHY you need to create the new habit. For example, you want to spend more time with your kids and celebrate their College graduation. If you don’t stop sitting up late and eating chips, the chance of health issues is too big and you won’t be able to celebrate…
2. Create supportive environment
For example, lock yourself in the office early morning to finish the vital To Do’s like your report. Thus you won’t need to take work home. Don’t buy chips and ask your friends and family to never ever bring fast food to your place!
3. Think out a reward system to boost your motivation
As Mark Robert Waldman, renowned Neuroscientist, says, our brain is a pleasure brain. It is always seeking comfort and pleasure. Thus by creating a reward plan for every milestone you achieve, you boost personal goal achievement tremendously. It can be a hobby voucher for you, a city trip, a meal with friends – absolutely anything that motivates you.
4. Be consistent
Make ridiculously tiny steps. This is the tip by John Assaraf. Just do one push today. Two pushes tomorrow, etc. Consistency helps create winning habits.
5. Invest at least 100 days to make it a habit
Win over your body and subconscious mind by creating a new type of automated behavior. If you used to sit up late and eat chips, make it a habit to go to bed earlier and buy fruit instead of chips. In the beginning your body will struggle and sabotage you: you’ll get cravings and insomnia in this report-writing case. And after over 100 days you lie in bed early and count till one thousand in your head, at some point falling asleep early will become a habit. It will be stored in your subconscious mind as an automated behavior.
6. Find an accountability partner
Share your goals with inspiring and supportive people. Ask one of them to be your accountability partner. As human brain fears the unpleasant like shame and blame, you can use this mechanism for your benefit and goal achievement. After you tell someone you are going to participate in a marathon in one year, you will be motivated to do those regular morning runs so that you avoid the shame of not fulfilling the promise. Additionally, you can deposit a decent sum of money and say that if you don’t run a marathon as you promised, your accountability partner or any charity organization will get the money. I bet this trick will increase your motivation 200%.
7. Do it again
Don’t beat yourself up if you fail at first when creating the winning habit. Continue and do the necessary things to achieve your goals. Now you know the mechanism, and it’s a great way to make your New Year Resolutions last much longer than a week.
Focus on creating the winning habits!
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We’d love to hear from you!
What tactics and strategies do you use to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions? Please share your ideas. Simply leave your comments and/or questions in the space below.