It is the time of the year again to think about your new year’s resolutions. Many people make promises to themselves what they will do better in the year to come. Before you do it again this year, let’s be brutally honest: Have you ever fulfilled your new year’s resolutions in the way you’ve promised to do? If so, congratulations, and keep going. Most people, however, did not. In fact, most people quit on their promises within the first 3 months of the new year. How long do they last for you on average? A week? A month? Or did you forget them already on the next day? Honestly, that was what happened to me. My new year’s resolutions didn’t even last a week. And that was in good years. But during the last 7 years, something changed for me. I developed a different method on making promises to myself and also learned why the classic new year’s resolution for most people, my previous self included, simply do not work.
Everything you are reading here is my personal opinion and experience. I do not expect you to agree with me, as everyone has a different way of thinking and acting. However, I can imagine that you might see some aspects that may describe your current way of making new year’s resolutions at the moment. And if you never fulfilled your plans so far and really want to change it, then this method may be a good starting point to break free from the “same old” cycle.
Step 1: Write your new year’s resolutions down
To be able to execute and achieve my new year’s resolutions, I have learned to write them down. Writing things down is an even more powerful way when it is done in handwriting. Handwriting connects your imaginary thoughts with your physical body and anchors it better in your brain – this helps you to stay focussed. Here are two very simple activities that can help you stay focused and committed when you normally lose track.
- Option 1: Write your new year’s resolutions once and put them somewhere, where you see them constantly. Ideally, one reminder in each room of your home, another in your car. Even your wallet or the picture frame on your desk (if you work in an office) can be a good place to not lose sight. Or simply use the background of your smartphone or computer screen.
- Option 2: Write them down on a regular basis. I do it every morning. While I’m still in bed, I use this exercise to prepare my mind for the day. This is not only a constant reminder of your own promises to you, but also an inspiring way to make sure you know why you are getting up each morning. Having a purpose always helps to start a day with more motivation and focus. The other advantage this task gives you, is to develop a new routine to remind you of important things in your life, and you may start applying this method to other areas in your life too. The consistency will create a new success habit for you when you keep going over an extended time, as we humans learn through repetition.
Step 2: Make your new year’s resolutions positive and specific
When you write down your new year’s resolutions, make sure you’re formulating them positively. That has the effect that whenever you read or rewrite it, it will increase your desire to achieve it. Most human beings want 2 things. First, we want more of the good stuff and second, avoiding the bad stuff. That’s why a positive connection to your new year’s resolution is so important. Otherwise, it’s just a wish without substance.
Next, describe your new year’s resolution as specific as possible. Why is that? The unconscious mind, likes clear commands to get you where you want to be. We humans often have the habit of complaining about what we do not want in our lives, instead of thinking about what we do want. Have you ever arrived at your desired destination, by telling a taxi driver where you don’t want to go? The unconscious mind works similarly. If it is fed with everything you don’t want, how can it get you to where you do want to be? Let’s use the following simple example: Assuming you want to have more money, and you find a £5, €5 or $5 Note on the street and take it. For your unconscious mind, that’s the job done – you have more money now, consciously you may be getting frustrated that you’re not making significant more money overall. The unconscious mind is always stronger than the conscious mind. Most people think they are failing by not getting what they want. They haven’t understood yet, that vague statements about what they want, cannot produce the specific results they are thinking of when making the statement. Vague statements can only produce vague results. The more specific you make your new year’s resolution or any goal you set in your life, the better can you be supported by your unconscious mind. This was a massive learning for me and changed everything.
Step 3: Set a due date for your new year’s resolutions
Setting a due date is another very important element to make your new year’s resolution work for you, as it is literally forcing you to take action. Treat it like a deadline given by your boss for a very important project. The key is, to set a challenging time-frame. The more you need to stretch yourself to reach your goal, the more proud you’ll feel when you have achieved it. This achievement will also give your self-confidence a massive boost, while the way towards the achievement is improving your self-worth.
If you want to reach your desired outcome faster, it may be a good idea to apply Parkinson’s law. Parkinson’s law says that: “a task takes as long as the time that is allocated to it”. You don’t believe it? Here is an example, most people can relate to. If your boss is giving you 3 weeks to complete a task, then it is likely to take up all the three weeks allocated to it. If you only have 1 week to complete the same task, guess what? It will be completed in 1 week and most likely, the result will be of higher quality as you have less time to worry about unnecessary things and only focus on what’s really important for the completion. With a little discipline, it also works if the “pressure” for the completion is coming from yourself instead of your boss.
Examples for your new year’s resolution
The examples described below are very simple, but common to many people. Hopefully, you find some inspiration to then develop your own, magically working new year’s resolution.
|The classic new year’s resolution||The winning new year’s resolution|
|In the new year, I am going to lose weight!||Until the 31st December 2023, I lost 20 kg of my body weight.|
|In the new year, I am going to do more sport!||Between the 1st January 2023 and 31st December 2023, I go to the gym every Wednesday doing 1 hour of exercise and improve the number of push-ups by 20%|
|I want to go for more walks in the new year||During the year 2023, I walk a minimum of 10,000 steps each business day and 15,000 on each day of the weekend until the 31st of December.|
|I want to save more money in 2023||In 2023, I’m saving a minimum 20% of each of my monthly wages to increase my savings by, at least, an additional £15,000 by or before the 31st December 2023.|
The key to really achieve your new year’s resolutions is focus. The techniques shown in this article have helped me to declutter my mind and stay on track to developing my new future. If you are following the three simple steps, and do it consciously, then you have a great chance to prove to yourself, that you can do it. Even if your experience was different before. By fulfilling your own promises, you are developing a more focused approach on other areas in your life too. Your self-worth will increase, and so will be your self-confidence. Just keep things simple and don’t stress. You know the framework, so you can take is easily step by step into your new future.
- Step 1: Write your new year’s resolution down. Use handwriting and place your reminder where you can see it every day or alternatively, write your new year’s resolution regularly to increase the focus even more. Whatever you find best working for you.
- Step 2: Use positive words to describe your new year’s resolution, and be as specific as possible. That will ensure that your unconscious mind can support you in the best possible way.
- Step 3: Set a due date. This is probably the most important step of all. Remember, everything without a due date is likely to be considered as unimportant and therefore never gets the focus and appreciation it needs.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Let me know in the comments what you will do differently when it comes to your new year’s resolutions. Also, like the article or share it with others who you believe will benefit from it. I wish you a fantastic, healthy and successful new year. Always remember: “The only person who can make your dreams come true is you!”
Your Coach – André
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