If you have made a 2017 resolution, prepare to be disappointed. This maybe a harsh New Year’s message but the myriad of statistics point towards one trend – what starts in resolution, moves to indecision and ends in indifference.
Depending on your sources approximately one quarter of all 2017 New Year Resolutions will fail after just one week and a huge 92% will fail to fully complete the goal(s) set by year end. That is a lot of people who will end this year at the same weight or with the same debt or with the same bad habits.
Time Magazine Highlights Top New Year Resolutions as:
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Drink Less
What are the major reasons for this major cultural malfunction?
- Firstly, people often set unrealistic or unnecessary goals, created at a whim over a glass of wine or in the midst of indigestion, lacking any significance.
- Secondly, there is no sustainable action plan. Goals stay as dreams because the smaller steps needed to make the goal a reality aren’t implemented.
- Thirdly, failure is culturally acceptable. We accept that people often don’t follow up on their initial promise, especially as ‘if you let your resolutions go then I can too’.
- Fourthly, New Year’s resolutions are usually derived from an unrealistic fairy tale version of ourselves.
All of the above represents a gap between our idealistic view of our self and our real internal view of our self. We have a version in our minds of the ‘me’ we should be and at the same time we have the view of ‘me’ we currently/ really are. If we explore this gap we can often find where our self-esteem issues come from.
To overcome these challenges I suggest the following New Year’s recipe:
1. Write Two lists
I run a coaching exercise that asks my clients who are focused on resolution/ change to draw a line down the page and list the characteristics of the ‘ideal’ and ‘real’ me. The first time we do it, generally, it leads to fairly depressing reading because we all inherently place positive traits in the ‘idealistic me’ list and negative traits in the ‘real me’ list (unless you already have strong self-esteem). Part of the coaching process is to realign these views, so we explore the times you were at your happiest, what you love to do, what things bring out the best version of yourself, and the things you have always wanted. Then we write the list again. The second list is always more positive and generally a boost for the self-esteem, an opportunity to celebrate the ordinary, and accept the authentic you. This helps anchor goals in a more positive and realistic way without letting go of the things you want to achieve.
2. Create and plan goals carefully
Next we create goals. We go through the second list and pinpoint which are most important to us currently, selecting maybe 3-5 to work on throughout the year. Then instead of being outcome driven by the goal itself, which often leads to an all or nothing achievement mind-set which puts you at risk losing everything else, you ‘bite size’ the goal down into daily or weekly behaviours and routines. We focus on the things that you can control and that you can celebrate. We enjoy the consistent progress rather than simply the outcome. Your focus becomes on the consistency of putting in the work, and adapting the systems you have in place, rather than the all or nothing approach of striving towards the unrealistic version of you.
3. Keep each other accountable.
There is a great African proverb:
Translating Me is a community of people who want to maxmise their time abroad.
There is no quick fix or secret but there is a defined process. If you want to get 2017 off to the right start come join us on 25th January and together we can get ridiculously intentional and focus on setting motivational yet realistic goals that will help us beat the curse of New Year’s procrastination.