How to Make Your New Year Resolutions Stick

Brendan BakerAs we now get further into the year I want to check in and ask how are you tracking against your New Year resolutions?

The turn of the New Year is the single most important time to reflect on your life. In fact, we all naturally do it. We do it because it’s one of the only milestones that continue to remind us of the importance of time. It forces us to reflect on our achievements and re-evaluate our future.

I’m sure you have set some New Year resolutions which are essentially goals that you want to achieve in your life. New Year resolutions are fantastic, but why is it that most New Year resolutions do not stick?

I can tell you why.

They’re not as important to you as other things in your life.

Pretty simple, right?

If your New Year resolution was absolutely important to you and linked to one of your highest values, you would not fail. You would be motivated, energised and committed to achieving that goal.

So, if this is the case, then how do you actually make a New Year resolution stick?

I’ve got 5 essential ingredients to ensure that this year your New Year resolutions stick.

Ingredient #1: Link Your Goals to Your Values

The first and most important thing you need to do is to ensure that your New Year resolution is actually of importance to you. It needs to be relevant to what you want to achieve in your life.

Understanding your values is the single most important thing you can do to gain clarity of what motivates you, what energises you and what is of importance to you.

The moment you set a goal or a New Year resolution that is not aligned to your highest values, is the moment you fail.

For example, if you take the common New Year resolution to lose weight but you don’t actually value being fit and healthy, then it’s going to be a lot harder for you to achieve your goal.

One way to get around this is to look at how achieving this New Year resolution can progress you towards living your highest value more fully?

If we take that same example and say that you value playing with your children, then losing weight will enable you to have more energy when playing with them which is then directly linked to your highest value.

Think of the New Year resolutions you want to set for yourself. How can you link them to what’s most important to you and ask yourself the question ‘why is this important to me?’

Ingredient #2: Write Down Your New Year Resolutions

Research has proven over and over again that goals that are written down are much more likely to be achieved. This is because when you write something down it creates something physical, something tangible and has an effect on your brain. It becomes no longer just a thought but an action that needs to be taken.

New Year resolutions are essentially a type of goal. Write them down. Not much more to be said on this but you need to write your New Year resolutions down on paper. Hopefully having that in bold will help it stick in your mind 🙂

Ingredient #3: Create an Action Plan

After setting your New Year resolution, you need to have an actual plan in making it happen.

Most people I work with set goals or New Year resolutions and keep them tucked away in a drawer or in a file that gets lost on the computer. A goal is great, but without an action plan to actually get you there you’re not going to know what decisions to make.

Again, having a plan in your head is a great start, but you really need to write your action plan down. Writing down your action plan will enable you to process your thoughts, structure your plan and give you a stronger sense of direction towards reaching your goal.

For your New Year resolution, think through what daily actions you need to take to reach your goal? What will you do weekly? Monthly? Who do you need to speak with? What books or resources can support you?

If you did step 1 and linked your New Year resolution with your values, this will be a fun, energising and rewarding experience.

Ingredient #4: Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Surrounding yourself with supportive people is one of the best ways of accelerating your learning and accelerating your results.

This is not limited to just your social circle, this can include finding a coach, finding a mentor or joining a group related to your resolution.

For example, doing classes at the gym and getting to know the people and building real relationships can help. It will help you to stay accountable. Finding a coach that can support and guide you on your path can be one of the best things you can do.

When it comes to your social circle, think through who will support your New Year resolution and who might hinder your progress and look for ways of spending more time with the right people.

For example, if you have a New Year resolution to quit smoking, then surrounding yourself with other smokers may not be a great option for you. Obviously this can be hard if your close friends, family or colleagues are all smokers, but you can also find other people who might be more into health and fitness or who have previously given up the habit of smoking.

Ingredient #5: Take Daily Action

The final essential ingredient for ensuring your New Year resolutions stick is to ensure you take daily action. It comes down to actually doing the work. New Year resolutions and setting goals always include a change, a challenge and provide something new. You will be stretched outside of your comfort zone.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Whatever you do, make sure you take daily action towards your New Year resolution. Daily action will create some serious momentum and propel you well on your way to success. Make it a habit to do what you do and work towards your resolution. Stick with it, even when you’re feeling like giving up, because you will feel like giving up. Just know that this is normal.

Sticking with your goal through adversity and challenge is what separates success from failure. That’s all it takes.

Over to You

Now it’s your turn. How are you going to make this year the best year you have experienced in life? Which ingredient have you previously been lacking and what can you do differently this year to ensure you stay focused and motivated in achieving what’s most important to you?
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Brendan Baker helps people who feel stuck doing work they don’t like start to make a difference and an income doing what they love. He writes over at The Start of Happiness and has just launched the Launch Your Life Academy to support people gain clarity of their purpose in life and stay focused and motivated in living their most fulfilling and successful life.