Successful people are simply those with successful habits
~ Brian Tracy
Last week we explored how to set effective resolutions. This week, we are looking at the next step. How to keep them for longer than the 1st 2 weeks in January! We will explore techniques to embed them into our everyday routine.
Where many people go wrong is by making a long list of resolutions which will require a complete life change and then focus on using willpower alone to achieve them. Research is increasingly showing that we only have a certain amount of willpower. There is a growing body of research that shows that repeatedly resisting temptation takes a mental toll. It’ll be very difficult to make a permanent change if we rely purely on this. Some experts liken willpower to a muscle that can get exhausted from overuse.
Rather than using willpower alone, to keep to our resolutions, we can employ a number of methods that focus on how to make them permanent habits. Different techniques to help you achieve your goals include:
This is about breaking our goals down into smaller chucks and tackling them a bit at a time until they have become habits. Rather than taking on one massive life changing goal all at once, which can be overwhelming, it is possible to break it down into more manageable chunks. One technique you can deploy to help with this is to choose one big topic and then split it down into 12 subsections and focus on one each month. I did this when I was making changes to become more environmentally friendly and it worked really well. This is also the technique I am using to achieve my resolutions this year.
2) Think Positive
Another technique that you can implement to help support achieving your resolutions is to focus on thinking positively about your goal. If you have you set your goal, but are telling yourself you are dreading it, and that it’s going to be really hard to implement, the likelihood this will be the reality. If you focus your positivity on the object of your desire, get excited about it and believe that you can achieve it, this will become much more likely to happen.
I’m not saying you can wish your way to achieving your resolutions, this clearly isn’t possible. But you must have determination and belief to bring about the action you need for success. Focus your mind so strongly on your goals, knowing and believing that you can achieve them, and you’ll find ways to get there.
3) Implementation Plan
It’s no good just having the goal defined, and leaving things there. You need to form a plan to work out how you are actually going to implement the actions needed to achieve your goals. The more specific you are about just how you intend to achieve your goal the easier it will be. Be really clear in detailing the actions needed to implement your goals and exactly how you intend to achieve them.
4) Accountability Partner
Some people find it easier to stick to their goals by sharing their intentions with those around them, to help them feel more accountable. You might have a certain person that you ask to keep you accountable. The more you tell other people what you are trying to achieve the more likely it is that you will stick to it.
CoachMe is a great application to help you feel accountable for the goals you have set. It allows you to track your goals and tick off each day which of them you have achieved.
5) Realistic expectations
Don’t expect miracles. It is hard to have a complete life change overnight. Take your time and don’t let mistakes set you back. You might not always achieve what you had hoped right away and you may sometimes make decisions you wish you could change, but in this case just dust yourself of and start again.
Remember that anything worthwhile is going to be difficult and might take a long time to achieve. Keep persisting and you will achieve it. If you set out knowing that you are in this for the long haul, not an overnight success, then you stand a better change of succeeding.
Once you have set your resolutions, follow the guidance above to focus on how to embed them into your everyday life, therefore reducing the amount of willpower required as they become a permanent habit. Good luck! Let me know how you get on in the comments.
If you’d like a bit of extra help with your New Year Resolutions, there are two ways I can help you:
1) I offer daily coaching using CoachMe, to help you with accountability for the resolutions you are trying to achieve. Use the PromoCode MELJOHNSONWEEK to get your first week for free.
2) I offer 1:2:1 coaching over Skype specializing in how to achieve your goals. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free consultation