STOP MAKING RESOLUTIONS! Do this instead.
Updated: Jan 16
A new approach to the New Year.
Welcome back everybody! We've been on a few week holiday break here at Certified Life Coach Institute and have been working on starting the New Year with a bang!
Now typically we like to think of failure not as failing but as learning, but after learning the statistics for New Year's Resolutions we had to share; Did you know...
92% New Year's Resolutions don't work.
That's right, 92%. According to a study by Statistic Brain Research Institute only 8% will end the year knowing the the satisfaction of keeping their annual commitment. If there are 328,200,000 people in America and if every one set a New Year's resolution. 301,944,000 are going to fail, forever lamenting they didn't read this article.
Any Tom, Dick, or Harriet can set a New Year's resolution. They are cheap, make you feel better, and accountable to no one. After a few day, weeks, months...the afterglow of the New Year fades and we get forgetful, life gets in the way, we weren't really that committed to the resolution to begin with. Sure, you said you would lose weight, save money, eat healthy, pickup a new skill, quit smoking, spend time with family, stop gambling, tell your boss what you really think of them (the last one should only takes a moment but you could spend the rest of the year feeling the repercussions), but there is one small problem....
You don't have an effective: intention, reminder, plan, or way to measure your resolution's progress. You truly aren't RESOLVED and only have a vague notion of what your goal is and let alone how to accomplish it and stick with it. Here are some examples of vague resolutions vs effective goals:
I want to give up smoking by the end of the year.
I will smoke only X amount of cigarettes/day. In 1 month I will smoke (X-1) cigarettes/day and repeat every month. I will hold myself accountable by keeping a log and asking someone to check in with me regularly about it. I am quitting smoking because I want to live a longer healthier life.
I want to lose weight and look good by the end of the year.
I will lose 1.5-2 lbs/week and I will do so by measuring my caloric intake by eating less calories than I burn. I will use this Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator and a scale to measure my progress. I will hold myself accountable by keeping a log and taking weekly photos and measurements. I am committed to losing weight because I want to be healthier and be able to feel confident appearance.
I want to save more money and stop excessive spending.
I will make a spreadsheet and keep track of my expenses. I track exactly where money can be saved and I will set aside X amount of dollars/week. I will keep my savings in a separate account so I do not spend it. Once I have reached X amount I will then use my savings to (insert life milestone here, e.g. buy a car, down payment on a house, vacation around the world)
As you are reading this, think about the above example and who you think will be successful in reaching their goals.
For our CLCI LIVE, Lisa Finck (C.P.C., A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.L.C., C.P.C), and Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.) discuss the topic of New Year's resolutions in depth and run a little experiment on Jerome to help him set effective goals.
After we brainstorm the reason why our New Year's resolutions often fail, we work with Jerome using our New Approach to the New Year worksheet, a helpful tool for both life coaches or just people who want a better way to make effective change.
New Approach to the New Year
I will use myself as an example to show you a different approach to New Year's resolutions. Normally, my resolution would be to write more, but as we know now, that's a flimsy resolution and won't do me any good yet. The first thing I need to do is...
Set this year's INTENTION WORD/MOTTO:
My motto for this year is "Write until my fingers are sore, then write some more".
This Word/Motto is IMPORTANT because?
My rationale for my word/motto is that when setting goals, the mind often gives up before the body does; just look at athletes, they will all agree that the mental barrier is more difficult to overcome than the physical one. I need to just put pen to page and push through that mental block and write so much I physically can't do it anymore. While quality content is important, I need to get use to the process of writing constantly.
I will REMIND MYSELF of this word/motto by:
Setting an alarm on my phone telling me it is time to write. Putting a sticky note on my laptop telling me my motto.
I will APPLY this word/motto by:
Waking up early and writing for 2 hours no matter what. If I have time and my fingers haven't fallen off, then write some more.
I will APPLY this word/motto by:
Finding interesting writing prompts or competitions to submit works to. It sure makes it easier to write if I'm enjoying what I'm writing or I have a deadline to make. It's important that I don't get too stuck on the details though, what is important is that I'm making progress in small ways.
I will SHARE and TRACK my use of this word/motto by:
It seems that I shared my motto with all of you but that is an easy out. I could post on social media my weekly progress or tell friends and ask them to hold me accountable to my motto.
This is the most important part. I will track my motto by keeping track of my word count and then aim to increase it daily. It doesn't need to be increases of hundreds or thousands of words, but I have to make progress and keep up the momentum. And writing this blog doesn't count.
With this New approach to the New Year Worksheet, I was able to take a weak, vague resolution and turn it into an effective and measurable goal that I will be reminded of and accountable for. If I keep to this motto I may not be an award winning author, but I will be content, satisfied, and proud of the progress I made.
Finally, it is important to forgive yourself. You are not a weaker or less valuable person because you weren't able to meet your resolutions. Don't discount the small successes because you may find that over time...
small wins make big victories
And here is one of our small wins. We will be theming our lives this year! January's theme is:
Effective Goal Setting!
Week 1: New Year's Resolutions
Week 2: When to use Why (The importance of the R in SMART Goals)
Week 3: The Art of Brainstorming Effectively
Week 4: Creating an Effective 3 Month Plan
Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, and Jerome LeDuff Jr.
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