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Making New Year's Resolutions Permanent

Saturday, November 09, 2013 - Simon Boutros

 

Another year is coming to a close and it’s that time of year when many people start reflecting about the year that was and think about the upcoming years New Year’s Resolutions and Goals.


In many of the studies and statistics that I have read, about up to 40% of the population will make a New Year’s resolution and on average only 10% of these people successfully achieve their New Year’s resolution. These statistics highlight the struggles of many people who are seeking transformation in their lives however are not getting the results they want or need for one or many reasons.  Instead of focusing on why people stick to their New Year’s Resolutions, I want to provide you with a solution and perspective on how you can make New Year’s Resolutions permanent.


By Far the most common New Year’s resolutions are set in the area of Health such as losing weight, choosing more healthy food options, exercising more regularly, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol. This is followed by Professional and Personal resolutions such as spending less time on social media, reading more books, helping charities, creating a better work/life balance, improving relationships and family life, saving money, pursuing new career options and learning something new.

If you’re just about to set yours for the New Year and you failed again in the last year, maybe NOW would be the perfect opportunity to get a new perspective and the changing your approach to setting and achieving your New Year’s Resolutions and then making them permanent!

Below are the steps that I have been successful with both personally and with many of my coaching clients to achieving any goal and making their New Year’s resolutions stick. I have simplified it into 7 steps;


1. Create your Resolution on your terms by Creating S.M.A.R.T Outcomes

Two things here;- Create the resolution on your terms. Find or create a reason why you need to want to Implement it, achieve it and make it permanent. Think about what will it cost you if you do not reach your goal and visualise how great life will be when you’ve achieved it.   - If you have ever learnt how to set a goal using the S.M.A.R.T outcomes then you would know that they need to be SPECIFIC, MEASUARABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME DRIVEN. 


A simple example of a SMART goal would be “My goal is to walk for 30 minutes, 3 times per week, for the next 12 months”

2. Set the intention 

In other words direct your mind to the purpose and plan and focus towards it. In this case it will be achieving your New Year’s resolution. You need a plan and you need to be focused on the plan and the outcomes. Part of your plan could be getting educated or hiring a coach or an expert in the area you want to achieve. You may need to join a support group or partner with someone who has similar goals and outcomes. 


To stay focused, review your goals daily. In the morning and prior to bed is a great way to stay focused. Eliminate clutter and distractions and include small wins into your plan.


3.    Make a Decision to Commit

A few tips on making decisions; get a balanced view on your gut feeling and logical thinking, tell someone that will hold you accountable, remind yourself of the cost and pain if you don’t make the decision and pleasure associated once you’ve committed to your decision and reached your goal. And just make a decision!

 

4.       Create your new Identity

It is important that you create a new identity. You may already have some of the identity traits to be successful in your New Year’s resolution or have been successful in a similar goal and have lost your way again, however remember if you have done it before you have a foundation and have it within you to do it again. If you have never set this type of goal, then you get the chance to create something new.

 

With your new Identity, you can give it a name; associate it to a character, a face or symbol. You may also decide to give it a voice or think of a word or phrase that you can associate with this new Identity.

 

Also you need to understand what traits your new identity will need to be successful and you need to clear on the mission. In this case clarity is power!

 

If you want to become healthy you may need to learn the traits of an athlete and model your identity on this. Think about what are the daily habits of an athlete, what would they be focusing on and what they say to themselves when they need to perform. It doesn’t matter how you do it, you need to build this identity and build a relationship with it.. Sounds crazy?  Yes! Does it work?… Yes!

 

Once you have done this you may find yourself having an internal conversation and continually nurturing a relationship with this new identity. Internal conversations would not be new to you. Like me, you more than likely always talk to yourself about a whole heap of things like “Why did I do that”? Or “Why did I just say that?” The secret in nurturing a new identity is to keep praising it and encouraging it.

 

Once the Trust is established and when the time is right, you will realise that in critical moments, you have handed control over to the new identity and this is when you will find that some of those old habits disappear and once this happens, you will feel free!

 

5.       Take Action – The Daily Must Challenge

I am not going to make a statement on how long it will take to make your New Year’s resolution stick as it would be different for everyone. In summary, it will be determined by your need to stay consistent with your new Identity. It may take you 30 days or 60 days or maybe even 12 months, however for longer term sustainable change, the end is determined by the beginning.  It is important that you look at chunking it down into days or weeks and setup some check points to see how you are tracking. Some people usually set the first phase up for 7 days or 21 days and this is where the heavy lifting is done. This is where your "Should’s" need to be "Musts". This is the phase where you are tested and where you have to let go of certainty. The time of letting go of the excuses, blaming others and any stories you may have told yourself that you now believe.  


Your environment will become important here as well as your relationships and support networks. Seek and learn from people who have already been on the journey that you are now undertaking or find experts who are at the top of their game and who can give you a new perspective and coach you through the process. 


Remember, Every Journey starts with 1 step.  


I encourage you to really put everything you have into Steps 1 -4! Leave nothing on the table so the rest of the process will become easy and before you know it, it will be unconscious, natural and you are living it without having to try.


6.       Living it

Once you have progressed through the initial stage and you’re getting some results, this is where your New identity needs to take the lead. It will lead you through all the tests all the challenges and all the temptation. Again it is important that you maintain an environment that supports your new transformation. This is the phase where you influence the ones you love, friends, colleagues and strangers. There is no greater feeling than achieving a goal and its gets even better when you use what you’ve learned to help transform others.

Although I encourage you to celebrate your wins, you need to be conscious of not getting too comfortable and look forward to stepping it up to the next level.

 

7.       Step it up to the next Level

The hard work may be done however it is important that you remain congruent with your new identity. This is where you take all your learning’s and experiences to progress to the next level. Ensure you review your environment for success; continue to educate your family and friends on your mission. The ones you love and the ones that love you will be proud of you and will support you. Work with your Coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist and support networks to reset your goals and thrive to the next level.

 

You will no doubt you will be tested however remember you will do anything stay consistent with your Identity.

 

I am certain you can take these 7 steps and implement them Now and in the future. Your destiny is in your hands so go out and create it on your terms.

 

I wish you the very best in your New Year and hope that your life will be transformed for you and by you and your New Year’s resolutions will become permanent.

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