I’m amazed to realize that we are already nearly one quarter of the way through the year. Research reveals something even more amazing — 36 percent of Americans who made a New Year’s Resolution have already given up on it. That number jumps to 54 percent in the next sixty days. Simply put- most people have the best of intentions but never achieve what they set out to achieve. Most people quit very early on, never giving their dreams a fair chance to become reality. That is very sad.
Do you want to be a part of that group? Do you want to be a statistic of unfulfilled aspirations? Do you want to look back with regret filled thoughts of “What if?” If you have not quit yet, keep going and use the following to help you achieve the things you truly want in life! If you have given up, do not beat yourself up. That only makes it worse. Instead, take action. Try something different. You can treat today as January 1st and renew your resolution and commitment to follow through. Can you think of one good reason why today is not a good day to start bettering yourself and creating the life you want? If you are one of the soon to be 54 percent of poor souls who have abandoned their resolutions, realize that you can get right back to it. Today. Right now.
Here are three tips to help you keep you on track:
1) Start small
Make one change at a time and increase the chances of success exponentially. When I am coaching using cognitive behavioral techniques, this is key to achieving success. For example, if someone wants to overcome a fear of flying, the first step of the approach to help them accomplish this is to first drive by the airport. That’s it. Step two is to watch planes take off and land. Step three is to go into the airport and just observe. The fourth step might be to take a walk through an airplane (if possible) or to watch videos of planes in all stages of flight. Doing this visualization exercise helps one “feel” what it is like to be on a plane. The final step is to get on a plane and take a short flight (and utilize breathing and calming techniques). But as you can see, this is intentionally done in small increments so conditions are primed for success.
2) Do not be hard on yourself
This one is important because people who have difficulty setting and achieving goals have a tendency to be hard on themselves. If you have a setback, remember it happens to everyone at some point. And your past is not an indicator of what you are capable of doing right here and now. Rather than feeling guilty, admit to yourself that you got off track and then utilize positive self -talk. Tell yourself that you have the ability to get right back on track IF you choose.
3) Get it on paper
This applies two-fold. It is always smart to write down your goals. Psychologists found that people who work at and make consistent progress towards goals live happier and more fulfilling lives than people who don’t. The additional benefit of writing it down manifests when you find yourself struggling. Simply writing down your past successes can help you regain confidence. Surely you have accomplished something meaningful—a solid relationship, a college education, a promotion at work, a compliment someone gave you after you helped them. Write it down and use it as fuel. You’ve been there already. You can do this!
The choice really is yours. You can choose to carry around the weight of disappointment and the knowing that you gave up. If you do, chances are you’ll start yet another resolution next year and repeat the process of stopping before mission accomplished. And this can happen year after year after year. Or you can choose to start again right now, knowing that even though you faltered a step or two, you did not fail because you have the courage and resourcefulness to get back on track whenever the moment is right for you.
No date on a calendar can dictate such powerful self-awareness. Working at it, not just wishing for it will get you there. Do this and you will accomplish what only eight percent of Americans accomplish — seeing your resolution through to the end. Now that is a group that you should want to be a part of!