Around 60 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions. Are you one of them? If yes, how long before you give up? If you hold on to your resolutions for more than two weeks, you are already ahead of most people — but only around 8 percent of you will actually achieve the goals they’ve set.
A survey of 2000 people (source: https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-top-new-years-resolutions-for-success-happiness-in-2019.html) shows the most common New Year’s resolutions in 2019, and we can expect 2020 to be similar:
- Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
- Exercise more (65 percent)
- Lose weight (54 percent)
- Save more and spend less (32 percent)
- Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
- Quit smoking (21 percent)
- Read more (17 percent)
- Find another job (16 percent)
- Drink less alcohol (15 percent)
- Spend more time with family and friends (13 percent)
What can you do to increase your odds of actually achieving the goals you’ve set? Here are some tips that will make the process of fulfilling a resolution much more plausible.
Set specific goals. “Learn a new skill or hobby” is a very vague statement. People usually have a more specific goal in mind, but even “learn Portuguese” is not good enough. It is more likely you will reach your goal if you decide on certain activities, e.g. “I will go to Portuguese lessons twice a week and will learn it for two additional hours each week”. It is also great to have a specific point in time you have to evaluate your results, like “I want to be able to hold a conversation when I travel to Portugal in May” or even “I want to pass the exam at the end of the scheduled lessons”.
Start small. It might seem to be a good idea to set ambitious goals so that even if you reach only a part of your goal you’ve still achieved something. The problem: it is much easier to lose motivation if you constantly fail to reach your set goals. Underachievement never feels good, and it will feel especially bad if you actually invest your time and energy. So start with small lifestyle changes even if your end-goal is very ambitious.
Don’t trust your motivation. Some people say that motivation is a myth, everything depends on habits. You won’t always want to wake up an hour early to go to gym, and you will find it excruciating to sit at the bar while your friends are outside smoking. While one of the solutions is implementing the changes gradually, it is equally as important to form good habits. If you get used to waking up early or not carrying cigarettes, it will be much easier to go from resolution to daily habit which doesn’t take much effort anymore.
Get organized. This can be a resolution itself, but all your goals will be easier to reach if you start the year with an organized desk, clean computer and a specific plan. New Year’s Eve, similar to the beginning of the summer, is a time to sit back, think of what you’ve achieved and prepare yourself for the next chapter. It also means that it is a good time for a clean-up: delete everything you don’t need, use cloud storage for everything you don’t want to lose, and get ready for everything 2020 will bring.
And, if you don’t manage to wake up at 5 a.m., go to gym and three different classes, outperform everyone at work, read a book every week and spend more time with your family all at once in 2020, there is always 2021.