Written by Paige Pierce
Did you know, according to jamesclear.com, it takes an average of 66 days to dissolve an old habit and form a new one? And yet, over 80% of resolution setters will drop off by the second week of February. That’s 3 out of every 4 people giving up within 2 months.
Basically, we’re not doing so hot. But we can do better, and we will.
First and foremost - I am not a New Year’s resolution type of girl. Shocking, I know, since I’m writing this article but bear with me. Instead, I’m a goal setter. Which is the tool I am going to offer over. What if your resolutions are just overly hyped goals that make you feel a load of unnecessary pressure and stress? You may not even realize it. It’s trendy to set a new resolution every year but who says you need a new year for a new goal? The answer is nobody. You don’t need a new year, a new month, a new day. You just need to make a clear and firm decision. And that’s what we’re going to discuss here.
Step 1. Choosing your resolution (goal)
This has to be something purposeful and specific to you. If your goal does not align with your values then you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Choose something that you really care about. Something that excites you and even possibly scares you a little. Be as clear with your goal as possible.
For example, let’s say I want to lose weight. I wouldn’t just say “I want to lose a few pounds” as my resolution. That isn’t clear at all. It doesn’t say how I’ll do it or why I want to do it. Instead I would say, “I want to lose weight because I will feel strong, healthy and energized. I will do this by investing in a personal trainer and eating nutrient dense foods.” Boom.
Here’s the format that I encourage you to use:
I want ______________ because I will feel _____________. I will do this by implementing ____________.
Step 2. Stepping into that reality.
Once you’ve gotten clear with what you’re creating, it’s time to step into it. Sit with it for a while. Close your eyes and envision yourself already having what you’re asking for. What do you look like when you have it? How do you feel? How do you make other’s feel?
Again, get it clear. Write it all down so you can revisit it every day and tap back into that reality. The key here is to mentally rehearse your new reality over and over again. It is impossible to overdo it. Remind yourself of that reality every day.
Step 3. Formulating an action plan.
A simple step by step plan to be consistent and stay on route. You aren’t going to wake up the day after setting your resolution and have it. It doesn’t usually work that way. You will be tempted at some point and in many different ways to fall back but with your action plan in place, you won’t.
Ask yourself, what do you need to stop doing to get where you want to be? What do you need to start doing?
I’m a visual person so here’s what I find helpful:
Find a piece of paper or open a document on your laptop and split the page in two. On the left side write, “STOP” and list the specific actions, habits, etc., that you want to stop doing. On the other side of the page write, “START” and for each thing you’ll stop doing, you’ll replace it with something that you’ll start.
For example, if I want to stop eating potato chips, I’d start eating a healthier alternative such as a plantain chip baked in a non-hydrogenated oil like coconut oil.
An action plan sets you up for success. When the temptation arises to fall back, you’ll have a specific action to take instead.
This breakdown of your resolution making process into these three simple steps can be simple. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture that you make for yourself once every year. You can do this 100, 1000, even 1000000 times in a year. Because as you adapt and grow, naturally so will your goals. So, for now, get clear – step into it – and follow your plan.