25% of people drop their New Year’s resolution after one week. 60% have completely given up halfway through the year. At the year’s end, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.
I don’t know which statistic you currently fall into. But I can bet which one you’d like to consistently be in. Through trial and a lot of error, I’ve learned which mistakes prevent us from achieving our New Year’s resolutions. The good news is that we can counter them with 4 simple goal-achieving principles in order to become part of the 8%.
As far as I know, we only get one shot as this life. I once went to a conference where Miles Adcox, the guest speaker, gave us paper meter sticks. He said — Find the centimeter line that matches your age. Now tear it there and toss the piece numbered 0 to your age behind your back. Then he asked — At what age do you think you’ll die? I chose a number in the triple digits. He again told us to tear the stick there and let the numbers from our last day onward fall to the floor. What remained were the years we had to work with. The past was done. The future, limited.
I remember thinking — Holy shit. That’s not cool. Luckily, my brain switched to asking — What can this realization make possible? How can I make this year my best one yet?
I’m asking you to mentally do this exercise as we turn the corner into the New Year. What can you do to make this one count? What’s at stake if you don’t?
Now, let’s go over the 4 mistakes people make with New Year’s resolutions and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: They aren’t clear with what they want to achieve. It takes courage to know who they really are and what they want in life because it’s easier to follow what other people think they should be doing. It’s also less risky because if things don’t go well, it’s because of that other person. But isn’t using up one of their years to go down a path they didn’t want to follow a higher risk?
Principle 1:Know Where YOU Want to Go. Articulate the finish lines you want to cross throughout the year. Paint a picture of what you want to accomplish so vividly that you can see it in your mind. For example, instead of saying “I want to start my own business someday.” you could say “I will teach 2000 people how to set and achieve their goals by launching an online course on March 3rd 2016.” Or, instead of saying “I’m going to build a better relationship with my spouse.” you can be clearer by saying “I will leave work in time for dinner and will set aside every Saturday and Sunday afternoon and night to spend doing things we love.”
Mistake #2: They don’t find their compelling reason. Achieving worthwhile goals is hard stuff. The people that don’t know their “why” quit once the “how” becomes painful. After the first time they don’t follow through, it becomes easier and easier not to do what’s necessary the next time. They’ve built momentum going the wrong direction.
Principle 2:Make it hard to quit by creating an emotional connection with your goals. If you fail, how will you feel? How will it negatively impact your life and the people you love? Alternatively, what pleasure will you have by achieving your goal? What will you gain in life when you accomplish it?
Mistake #3: They allow themselves to become surprised by the obstacles. No matter which road we choose to travel, it will inevitably have traffic jams, detours, and potholes. The people who get stranded on the side of the road are the ones that failed to look ahead and plan for the potential disasters. They also don’t bring any tools to help them get back on the road so now they’re left with their thumbs out waiting on someone else to bail them out. To avoid this, follow
Principle 3: Steer Clear of Obstacles. Brainstorm the most likely road blocks. How can you prepare for those now? What can you do to minimize the chances of them coming up? Things are generally harder and take much longer than we originally think because they sound so simple but they are probably not easy.
Mistake #4: They don’t plan to make the achievement of their goal inevitable. Great achievements aren’t things one just stumbles upon. But, that’s how some people act like. They subconsciously believe that they can drift and wander into the life they want. Before they know it, months and years have passed without having gotten any closer to building their ideal life.
Principle 4: Plan your route and take action. Take your goals and break them down into the small actions that need to be taken in order to accomplish them. Be careful though. Procrastination has a way of sneaking in. Don’t become so obsessed with creating the perfect plan that you don’t take any action. Understand the very next step and take it.
By this time next year, what great stories do you want to be able to tell of your successes? Better yet, what failures will you have that serve as testimonials to you having gone for it?
Whether or not you’ve done this before, it won’t be easy. Only you can make the struggle worth the reward.
Cheers to a year that’s lived intentionally,