41% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions.
9.2% of them felt they were successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions.
42.4% never succeed and fail on their New Year’s Resolutions each year.
(Statistics from StatisticBrain.com)
Again, you look at the calendar, it’s another year. You hope that maybe this year something will be different and everything will go as you want it to be when it comes to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.
Then again, that’s what 42.4% of the people hope for anyways, and it never works out in the end.
You look at some of your friends and some of the famous figures, and wonder how they were able to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. They must have some amazing secret or technique.
In fact, they do and don’t at the same time. The secret is all in the planning and how you execute it. In this article, I will teach you how to increase your success rate when it comes to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.
I will do my best to keep this as action friendly, easy to understand, and step-by-step as possible so that you can follow along as you read this article.
NOTE – I will be using the term “New Year’s Resolutions” and “goals” interchangeably.
Make a List of New Year’s Resolutions That You Want to Achieve This Year
For now, don’t overthink it. Just make a list of all the New Year’s Resolutions that you wish to do.
They don’t have to be short term or long term. The main point is that you list them all out.
Go on and pause here and return once you are done. Do it now so that you won’t procrastinate on it. If things didn’t work out that well in the past, why not try doing things a little bit differently, right? There’s no harm in doing so.
Be More Specific About Your New Year’s Resolutions
Ok, now that you are done with your list of New Year’s Resolutions that you want to achieve, let’s go over it shall we?
But wait, I bet that chances are, you already made the first mistake that most people made already when it comes to setting New Year’s Resolutions or just goals in general!
That is not being specific enough with clarifying your New Year’s Resolution and incorporating a deadline with it.
Sure, you can argue that there’s no way that one can possibly know when a goal can be accomplished by; but, it is better to have a rough idea than no idea at all.
Example of a not specific goal:
- I want to lose weight.
- I want to lose 100 lbs in 3 months so that I can look better and feel healthier.
Now I want you to go through your list, and try to revise each New Year’s Resolution that you have so it is more specific and assign a deadline to each one of them. Optional, but not required, is to also include a reason why you want to achieve that goal in the first place.
Yes, each one of them. Go through it and revise if necessary. If you think your New Year’s Resolution is specific enough already, I would suggest that you think again. Once you are finished, keep reading. You might have to do some research to get a better reading of the deadlines part of the activity.
TIP – I suggest you do this on a new piece of paper. After all, clutter is the enemy of productivity. You don’t want to stare at a bunch of crossed out text with words floating around everywhere.
Done? Good. Let’s move on to the next important step.
Prioritize and Drop Some of Your New Year’s Resolutions
Woah! Didn’t expect that, did you not? At this point, you and a few other readers are thinking that I must be crazy or I must be a genius for suggesting “drop some of your New Year’s Resolutions.”
Allow me to clarify that a little more.
When I say to drop some of your New Year’s Resolutions, I don’t mean that you have to abandon it forever and never work on them ever again (although it varies from person to person). I’m just saying that you have to prioritize which of your New Year’s Resolutions you should focus on more than the others.
As you know, time goes by fast, and is very short.
There are always things that you want to do, but there’s never enough time in the day, month, or year to do them all.
Now I want you to do the following:
- Look through your New Year’s Resolutions and number each of them in order of importance and how badly you want to achieve them. (1 being the most important and the biggest number being the least important – based off of the number of New Year’s Resolutions you have).
TIP – If you find this to be a bit challenging, I suggest you divide your list into separate portions and use a smaller scale based off of each one (this means you will end up with multiple results with “1” in total based on the number of divisions you made).
- Once you’ve finished prioritizing, I want you to choose the top 5 results (if you divided the list into smaller portions, then choose the Resolutions that have a “1” marked next to it) and create a new list out of that.
Now your list should be a lot smaller.
As for the rest of the New Year’s Resolutions that didn’t make it to your new list, you will drop down for the time being.
What you’ve just created is a list of New Year’s Resolutions that you will focus on no matter what. They are your most important ones that you wish to achieve.
As for the other New Year’s Resolutions, hold onto that list. When you achieve your top priority resolutions, you can start tackling those resolutions from the list that didn’t make the cut in the beginning. Just repeat the same technique (since you might have a different opinion on them by then) and work on the higher prioritized resolutions.
- Put them in a place where you can see them every day. Stick it on the wall. Make it your wallpaper. Make it as a note in one of your phone’s widgets. Whatever. As long as you can see it every day before you begin the day, that’s good enough. This will serve as a daily reminder of what your New Year’s Resolutions are. Do this even if you have a good memory.
Create a Schedule to Follow
Consistency is key to success. Timeliness too.
Create a schedule that you will follow so that you can ensure a consistent progress when working on your New Year’s Resolutions. I recommend a schedule that will allow you to work on it daily.
Here is one quick approach you can follow:
Fill out your calendar with the time slots that requires your attention (work, school, chores, etc.). When doing so, be aware of the difference between things you must do versus things you want to do. Now I’m not talking about things like “I can’t live without Netflix so Netflix is something I must do otherwise life is just too boring and stressful.”
“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Now find a free time slot in each day where you can focus on your New Year’s Resolutions (at least 1 hour).
Allocate your time for each resolution as needed. If you find yourself having a difficult time fitting all your resolutions into a time slot, consider dropping some activities that are unimportant (ahem, Netflix and randomly browsing the internet); otherwise you will have to drop some more New Year’s Resolutions (which we don’t want to do to our already narrowed down list).
Do Your Research Homework
Depending on what your New Year’s Resolutions are, you either fall under the category of “I don’t know where to begin”, “I know what I must do”, or perhaps the worst case scenario which is you think you know what you have to do, but you are actually doing the wrong thing.
“Do your homework” as your parents and teachers have always told you to. In this case, do your research. Seriously. Do it.
This mostly applies to the people who don’t know where to begin and the worst case scenario.
You now know what your goals are, now find out what you need to do to achieve them. Either ask someone who have achieved that goal successfully or do some research on the internet.
You won’t get exact answers, but you’ll at least get a general idea and enough information on what you must do to make progress towards your goals.
This will become one of the foundation towards the next step, and that is to divide and conquer.
Divide and Conquer Your New Year’s Resolutions
An enormous task is hard when you try to tackle it head on; but, when you break it down into smaller pieces, and tackle it little by little, you’ll eventually accomplish what you needed to do.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
For instance, let’s say your New Year’s Resolution is to be able to run 3 miles in a near consistent pace, but your current record is 1 mile tops. In this case, instead of trying to practice 3 miles daily, you can try adding half a mile every week or every month to your current record and build your way up to the 3 miles. This is probably not a great example displaying the huge benefits of divide and conquer, but at least it gives you a rough idea of how you can use this strategy to your advantage when achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.
With the previous step, assuming you’ve done your research, you should have a rough idea of what you need to do to divide and conquer your New Year’s Resolutions.
Have Your Best Friend or Family Member Hold You Accountable for Your New Year’s Resolution
Have you ever thought why during the weekdays, when you have to get your homework done back in school, you are capable of doing it successfully, but when it comes to doing things like your chores or personal goals, you don’t do so well on them? One of several answers is accountability!
In the case of doing your homework for school, your teacher or professor is holding you accountable to do your homework otherwise you don’t get the grade you need to pass the class.
In the case of achieving your New Year’s Resolutions, you want to create a similar scenario and get someone who you trust and is supportive to hold you accountable for your goals. Maybe get him or her to work on their goals so you can hold each other accountable! Nothing beats teamwork after all!
Again, to prevent you from procrastinating, I want you to right now list on your paper 3 people that you know who can hold you accountable for your New Year’s Resolutions. Once you’re done, contact each of them until you get someone to agree to it. Set a timeline where you can do a regular and consistent meetup with your friend to check up on each other. At the same time, it’ll give you guys a good excuse to catch up and hang out! :)
Reward Yourself Every Time You Successfully Make Your Scheduled Progress Towards Your New Year’s Resolutions!
Having a rewards-based system is important when it comes to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions. It gives you, as a human being, something good to look forward to. It also helps you out on motivating you to keep going.
Whenever I finish the quarter for college after finishing my last final, I would head right to Starbucks, and treat myself to a nice large Mocha Frappuccino.
I normally avoid getting Starbucks to not get addicted and to avoid growing dependent on caffeine to energize myself. Plus, I love those cold Frappuccino drinks and I don’t ever want to grow tired of drinking them! Just writing about them reminds me of the tasty Mocha Frappuccino with a fair hint of chocolate and caffeine flavor. Maybe I should get one after I finish writing this blog post?
Now here is an optional exercise. Come up with some rewards you can get for yourself when you finish certain steps or accomplish certain milestones when working towards your New Year’s Resolutions. The reason why this is an optional exercise is because you can always come up with it on the spot, but it is best to have some idea ahead of time.
Recognize Your Self-Defeating Behaviors and Habits
This is a very important step if you want to increase your success rate by a significant amount, and that is to change your bad habits and behaviors that could potentially stop you from achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.
Now, before you start complaining or moaning about the struggle of trying to get rid of a bad habit, recall the “Divide and Conquer” step. Take it one step at a time. If you have a bad habit of browsing the internet for no clear reason for hours on end every day, try spending 1 less hour every day or just dedicate 1 hour per day maximum each day. That way, you can easily ease yourself into breaking the bad habit.
The only exercise here that I want you to do is make a list of behaviors and habits that you do that could potentially jeopardize your success, and come up with a divide and conquer way to tackle them bit by bit every single day.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Okay, this article is getting a bit too long, so let’s end it after this. One thing that you absolutely must do is to keep track of your progress. Finished another step? Cross it off your list! Now let’s move on to the next one. Great! How much more progress do you need to make to reach your expected destination?
TIP - This is where utilizing some great productivity apps will come in handy, such as to do list apps. By the way, my app, Goal Striver (available for free in the Android Store – coming soon to iOS – can do some basic progress tracking). The features are still limited, and there are still a lot more features I’m working on to make it work out so please be patient!
Congratulations on making it to the end of this article! You are now ready to dominate 2017 and win it!
If I was there with you right now, I would give you a handshake, pat on the back, and a smile followed by a “job well done!” Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserved it.
You are now more prepared than the average person. All that is left for you to do now is start on your goal today as soon as possible. Start using your schedule that you created today! You want to start off a good habit instead of building a habit of procrastination.
Also, what is your #1 New Year’s Resolution? Let me know in the comments below. It wouldn’t be fair to you if I didn’t reveal mine, right? My #1 New Year’s Resolution for 2017 is to generate revenue through Goal Striver by starting on the development of Goal Striver Pro for Android (iOS coming soon) by the end of summer.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I’ll see you in the next one. Take care and good luck on achieving your New Year’s Resolution!