Full disclosure: I cannot even remember when I have made my last New Year’s resolution.
Why? I look at New Year’s resolution a bit like I look at dieting. Like many a predictable teenage girl, I have dieted, possibly three or four times. Then I stopped, because I had watched myself one time too many not sticking to the actions needed to stay on track after the dieting. My own personal research was 100%, clear cut.
I reckon it must have been the same with my New Year’s resolutions. Why would I repeat something year after year, when I don’t even believe in it the minute I do it?
You, on the other hand, may make New Year’s resolutions each year.
You may even be one of the self-reported 9% who manage to stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
If you are: Chapeau!
I might not make New Year’s resolutions, but I constantly do set goals for myself, big and small ones: At Choose Leadership, our biggest ambition is to turn a multinational corporation into a purpose driven tribe that is based on values of respect for people and planet. I also have a goal of flossing my teeth each night, a routine I only have managed to consistently follow this past year – thanks to a cunning trick shared by B.J. Fogg.
So rather than trying to save you from setting yourself goals that you’re no more likely to achieve this time around than in any past year, I invite you to write down a goal – new or old. And then think about how you could break down this goal into a structure of small daily actions that would slowly get you there over time. To up your chance of success, I suggest you now choose one, and only one, new small daily action to integrate into your daily routine. This could be one minute of meditation every morning, 5 minutes of power exercise right after getting up, or hitting a gym for just 5 minutes on your way back from work. All that matters is that this is something small, something you can be reasonably sure to create time and energy for, every day.
There’s a caveat: Our brains go for instant gratification – which is why you will eat those crisps right in front of you, although you have planned to loose the weight you’ve gained over christmas.
Create a little habit tracker on a piece of paper: draw a square for each day and put it on your night stand. And then enjoy ticking off a box for each day when you have completed your action.
As you are doing this, be clear that you might fail at times.
So plan for failure!
What sets successful habit creators apart from others is not that they don’t ever fail. It is that they resume their daily practice as fast as they can. So try not to miss twice. And just move on.