If you read our first post in this series, you know that motivation is not the key to success when it comes to achieving your New Year’s resolution. Here’s how you can accomplish your New Year’s resolutions for 2018: COMMIT.
C – Communicate
Tell other people your resolution and what you are setting out to accomplish. Declare it! The more public you make it known, the more likely you are to follow through. Post it on social media. Let your co-workers know. Get your neighbors or friends on board. Put it out there in the universe. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology showed that only 4 percent of the people who do not declare their goals actually succeed. Nobody wants to be known as the person who quits. There is something in all of us that wants to save face and do what we said we were going to do. Put that to work in your favor!
O – Organize
You need to figure out the “how.” Without a detailed and realistic plan, your resolution is nothing more than a wish and is as likely to happen as it is for me to wish that my bank account would grow by a million dollars by the time I wake up next week. We’d all be rolling in dough if it were that easy. You need realistic action steps. If you don’t know what to do, seek out the advice from people who do. Talk to friends who have had success in the same area. Read articles. Hire a coach. Just don’t sit by idly wishing without a plan.
M – Measure
Make sure that your plan is measurable. The more specific you are, the better your chance of success. If your resolution is to lead a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier or exercising more, you need to quantify what that means by way of action steps or you will have no way to gauge if you are on track. This is where an organized plan is key! For example, maybe your plan looks something like this:
- Grocery shop and meal prep over the weekend for the week ahead.
- Increase fiber intake by eating a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day.
- Wake up an hour early four days per week to exercise. (Even better if you can pinpoint what exercise you’re going to do on those days. E.g. cardio 2 days, weights 1 day, yoga 1 day.)
You could put an “X” in each of these boxes on a weekly basis because they are specific actions that you did or didn’t do. These action steps are designed to move you towards your goal. Without manageable subparts or check-in points, it’s not only unclear whether you’re accomplishing anything, but it’s also far more difficult to adjust the plan along the way as needed. Who wants to wait until December 31 to realize they are off course?
M – “Motivation is garbage!”
You are never going to “feel” like it. You cannot wait to act until when you feel motivated. Detach the emotion from the action. Once you have your plan in place, you simply have two choices: do it or don’t. It does not matter how you feel about doing it. It’s like I tell my daughter, who struggles with math. “You can hate math. You can think it is pointless. You can be angry about having to do math homework and study for math tests. But, you still have to do it. The feelings you attach to it have nothing to do with it. You still must take math.”
The sooner you can dismiss the feelings that you associate with the action steps you need to take to tackle your resolution, the less you’ll use that as an excuse for something you must do to meet your goals. And then, something fabulous happens, the repeated actions become your new habits. You will have removed the decision-making component – that doubt, fear, uncomfortableness that causes hesitation and too often stops us from acting – and you will simply do. Over and over again, you will do the steps that are putting you on the path towards your goals.
I – Inner Voice
Refrain from the self-sabotage. You know what I’m talking about. The little devil sitting over your one shoulder, whispering in your ear – that inner voice that punches you in the gut with negative, destructive words. “You’re weak. You can’t really do this. Why are you even trying? You look silly. You’re going to fail again. You aren’t good enough. You don’t deserve it.” Of course, the whisper turns into a low roar at the first stumble, and tries to convince you to just give up completely. Shut that down. Immediately! Practice some self-love and show yourself some grace. Come up with a mantra that you’re going to say the second the little devil whisper begins. “I’m strong and unstoppable.” Whatever it is, practice it, write it down and have it ready to go. That inner voice is responsible for knocking people off their game plan, especially if they hit any little bumps in the road. Decide now that you are not going to succumb to it.
T – Team Up
Find accountability partners! There is power in numbers. When you have a supportive group of people in your corner who are committed to similar goals, you increase your chance of success. There is comradery in being part of a team or small group of people who are taking the same action steps that you are. So, grab a workout buddy, a sorority sister, a spouse who is on board with your plan and willing to walk in the trenches with you, or find an online community (e.g., Facebook group). The important part is to know that you’re not alone. Even if your entire family or close group of friends thinks that your resolution is pointless or they choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, don’t give up and give in. You can absolutely find people who will support you, cheer you on and even walk side-by-side with you.
If you COMMIT, you will succeed and those New Year’s resolutions are yours for the taking. Whether you’ve already made your resolutions, and whether you choose to call them resolutions, goals, projects, or something else, I encourage you to dig deep and think about what you want to do better this year. How can you grow? What’s your passion? What have you always wanted, but struggled with? You can do this! Let’s go!