New Year's Resolutions
A new year means new opportunities. It is one of our favorite moments to change habits by specifying a list of New Year’s resolutions. Statistics say that about 45% of American’s make these every year, while 17% only do rarely. However, I bet we are all well aware that our New Year’s resolutions usually don’t stick. Apparently only 8% of the population are successful and 45% enjoy infrequent success. This number is so low, mostly because people set too many or unrealistic goals. Ever noticed how the gym is packed right after the holiday’s and week after week less and less people go? Brace yourselves, new years resolution people are coming!
To make my resolutions stick this year, I have done a little research on how to actually succeed this year. I am desperate to make the 8% success rate this year. Don’t really want to have to write that I miserably failed AGAIN in a few months time of course. An overview of the tips and tricks:
- Be explicit - It has been proven that the success rate of explicit resolutions is ten times higher.
- Write down your resolutions – By writing down your achievable resolutions, you establish a contract with yourself. It creates a better connection between your thinking and doing self, making resolutions more real and thus achievable.
- Focus on one resolution at a time – It is hard to focus and concentrate on many things at once, as we indicated in previous articles like the one on uni-tasking. Breaking things down will improve your success rate. Maybe you can even use a little bit of Agile in making your resolutions stick.
- Using positive descriptions of your resolution over negative ones – Highlighting the benefits is basically much more motivating and thus increases your chances of succeeding.
- Make gradual changes – You can’t expect a major change without constantly thinking about it, resulting in a higher chance of you giving in. It has been proven that it takes at least 21 days to pursue a new habit and break the old one. To really make a resolution stick, start slowly and make sure you are dedicated to adapting the new habit for those 21 days after.
- Review your progress – Who doesn’t love seeing their positive progress? Who wants to go down after they went up? Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated and not to give up when things get rough. With the masses of apps available and trackers like for instance Fitbit, there should always be an easy tracker available that satisfies your needs.
- Tell someone about your resolution – By sharing your resolutions, you will have a safety barrier and face saver. They can give you support, but also the motivation not to fail.
- Celebrate your successes – I am a great fan of celebrating my successes. Something that I might want to do or have, that I can only get if I make a certain milestone. It is like bribing myself each and every time.
That brings me to my New Year’s resolutions this year, using the tips and tricks above.
Save more money to buy a new laptop and house - In other words don’t spend it all on books, food, shopping, dancing, traveling, and gifts. I have a terrible weakness for luxury items and delicacies. The famous French bakery that opened around the corner from work isn’t really helping either. I will have to keep my goals in mind, a new laptop and buying a house. I am going to make different sections in my savings account and will stick to the minimum amount I negotiated with myself each month.
Eat candy in moderation rather than binging on them - Basically, boundaries are not my strong point basically. Give me a pack of cookies and I will eat them until they're gone. I buy a pack of “zure matten”, good chance they are finished within the day. The bad thing is, that I wish I could truly live on sugar and fat only. Unfortunately, my weight seems to disagree at times.
Become a light packer - Wherever I go, stuff follows. I am not even sure what is in my bags. Yes, multiple bags, I never go out the door with one bag only. This includes work, trips to the bakery, and shopping. For some reason, I just bring along all this stuff. You should see me pack when I go on holiday. I am currently packing a backpack. Let’s just say, that I am not really sure how I will manage to walk with all those bags on top of me. Did I mention that I am not even bringing half the stuff that I could possibly want to use? And tend to forget nearly half of the necessities each and every holiday.
Learn French - French was a mandatory course in high school for me, just like for most Dutch children. Unfortunately, language was never really part of my skill set and I managed to pass the course based on tricks. Since then my trick box expanded, but I was never remotely able to speak French well enough to have a something that could pass as a conversation. I have started using this app called “Memrise” to learn French now. My goal for next year is to be able to have a small French conversation with my French colleagues next year and understand the conversations among them. With most of my direct colleagues being French and all.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Any tips and tricks you can share with us? Let us know in the comment section. Next year I will update you on whether I was successful or failed miserably once more , in which case I can update you even earlier than next year.