Yes, you read that correctly: if you want to succeed in 2017, don’t make a new year’s resolution; rather make a new year’s success plan.
Here are a few stats: 50% of Australians will make a NYR and of those 88% will fail, the majority within the first month.
I have found in the past that NYR only make me feel like a failure. This is how it has been in the past. I make a NYR to “get healthy”, I promise to go to the gym every day, eat more fruit and veg, and cut out ice cream and junk food. (I’m guessing that I am not the only that has made this resolution). So I would wake up NYD, maybe a little hungover, hungry and thirsty, and reach for the first thing in the fridge – generally some left over dinner and coke and be half-way through it then think “crap I’m supposed to be being healthy. I’ll finish this then start”. That was usually followed by “See I’m hopeless I can’t even manage a day, I can’t do anything right.” Or something like that.
Is this sounding familiar to anyone? Well that is how it used to be before I decided to stop making new year’s resolutions and changed to making New Year’s Plans (NYP). Now I have no feelings of failure or stress because rule number one of NYP is: do not start New Year’s Day, rather on a date that you choose. So if you want to succeed in 2017, follow these three simple steps:
Step 1: Set a goal/intention
Decide on what it is you want to change/improve/work on in 2017. This does not have to be in only one area of your life. You can have a health goal, a financial goal, a goal for hobbies, or even learn a language. Set a date that you want to start (if you have more than one goal you do not have to have the same start date for each)
If we go back to my getting healthy example this is how I did it:
My purpose was to get healthy by changing my diet and increasing exercise by going to the gym. And I decided that I would start on the 25 January.
Step 2: Prepare
This is key – once you have set a date, make an action plan of all the things you need to do and any help or learning you will need before your start date and put a date those actions need to be completed by.
Continuing with my getting healthy example:
- Research gyms
- Get rid of unhealthy food from the house (chips, sugar drinks, lollies, chocolate)
- Look up healthy recipes and make a menu for at least two weeks
- Join a gym
- Decide on exercise days and times
- Shopping for menu plan (without buying things not on the list!)
Step 3: Start slow and be happy to fail.
No I am not being a “Negative Nelly”; new habits and routines take time, so don’t set yourself up to fail by setting yourself unrealistic goals. For example, I would say to myself I’m going to the gym for six days a week. Now let’s be honest, the total amount of times I had gone to the gym the pervious year was probably none, why I thought I could go from none to six days a week and succeed is beyond me. So learn from my mistakes and start slow.
My new way was to decide on two gym days a week for the first month with a walk and then increase that to three days after a month. It’s very important to be kind to yourself: it is OK if you have planned to go three days to the gym and only make two: let’s face it – two is better than none and sometimes you are just going to have a blah day and that is OK.
That’s it: three simple steps to make 2017 as successful as you want it to be.
If you want to be super-dooper successful do this one last thing: find yourself a buddy who has a similar goal or someone to check in with regarding your progress. Research has shown that people who tell others of their goals have a higher success rate.
I would love to hear your thoughts on New Years resolutions.