New year’s resolutions: How to make them stick?
Time flies. Almost two months of the new year have already gone by. Fingers crossed: Are you still on track with your New year’s resolutions or have they already passed by like a cloud on a windy day? In any case, research shows that you are not alone. Only 20 percent of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Why is this so? Is there any magic pill to join this group of achievers?
5 success criteria for New Year’s achievements
We at Delacon don’t believe in magic, but in understanding the science and psychology behind mode of actions. Usually, I would invite you to understand the power of nature and their processes. This time, I encourage you to dive into the power of habits and uncover the secrets of successful goal setting.
Why we might not resonate with resolutions.
The word resolution releases negative feelings in us. It is pushy and demanding. Moreover, it includes a big MUST. It leaves no room for failure, and if we don’t achieve it completely, we feel ashamed and highly disappointed by ourselves. Who wants to experience that? But what is the alternative?
Try a new approach.
What if we already think from the target perspective and pretend that our goals have already been achieved and have created a positive change in our life. Why not call them new year’s achievements or accomplishments?
Another approach is from Miranda Gates (Bill Gates wife). She defines a word of the year that supports her in creating positive change and equips her to move to the next level of success. My word for 2021 is BALANCE. What is yours?
1. Know your WHY & vision
If you are formulating your New Year’s achievements, make sure they correspond with who you really are, your purpose and where you are in life. Your WHY fuels you with energy and motivation when you need it. It is the northern star that helps you to get back on track when you are lost in the dark.
A strong WHY should also be your basis for our next success criteria: Goal setting. Because only if goals are contributing to a bigger cause, their achievement brings us the desired feeling of happiness and fulfillment.
At Delacon, our vision & WHY is to unlock the plant universe for better lives. What is your WHY?
2. Clear goal setting: Dream big, start small
Many of us are being too vague in goal definition.
For instance, I want to feel more energized this year, or I want to eat healthier? But what does this mean? Clarity can bring you closer to reach your goals. No wonder it is considered as dimension in one of the most well-known goal setting frameworks: The SMART method. Meaning a goal has to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bounded.
Besides the SMART items, I have identified more criteria that have helped me in achieving my goals:
- Positive formulation of the goal: Instead of saying what I don’t want X, I will focus on the aspect I actually want to achieve. Positive thoughts are more likely to imply the next steps and are more action-oriented. Therefore, it is better to say: I want to feel fulfilled by my work instead of I don’t want to work in this job anymore.
- Dream big but be realistic: An ambitious goal brings out the best in you. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and is providing you new experiences and learnings. However, don’t forget to be realistic. Otherwise, it will frustrate you very soon.
- Needed skills: In case to be realistic, ask yourself: What skills do you need to achieve your goals?
- Start small: Start with the easiest step to generate first quick wins. They motivate you for bigger and more demanding steps and make sure that you don’t lose motivation.
- Break it down & track your process: Divide your big goal into 3-5 milestones. This is helping you not to get overwhelmed and evaluate the progress easier. It also allows you to generate lessons learned and change or adapt the final target if needed.
- Consider your environment: How does the achievement of your goal affect your surroundings? Do you need any support from others to achieve your goal? For instance, if you want to eat healthier and clean, this will influence your cooking. Ask yourself: What if your partner does not like the new diet? Will this affect your motivation?
- Less is more: Don’t overwhelm yourself with your ambition and try to achieve too many goals simultaneously. Single-tasking is the new multi-tasking. Focus on one or two goals and put all your energy into it. The success rate will rise exponentially.
3. Make a difference with CalenDHR: Discipline, Habits, Routine
After knowing your WHY and clarifying your goals, it is crucial to bring them to life.
Remember: The idea or intention is only worth 10 percent. Your success will be defined to 90 percent by actual execution.
For this stage, I want to introduce you to the CalenDHR concept. This concept was first brought to my attention by the former Adidas fitness & motivation coach Lunden Souza. It is a modification of the world calendar and includes the first letter of three essential characteristics of execution: Discipline, habits, and routine.
How often did you say to yourself that you could not “find the time” to do something? Let’s be clear – nobody finds time. It doesn’t lie around the street, and no one will ring at your door with a present of time. We all choose to spend the time on the things we want to, whether eating junk food or going for a run. Make your set goals a priority, and schedule the concrete action items into your calendar.
The power of Discipline, Habits & Routine is a real thing.
95% of our daily decisions are made unconsciously. 70% of our thoughts are the same ones as the day before. 40% of our behavior will be repeated every day. That’s why it is so important to implement healthy habits.
Did you know?
- For the first 66 days you need a lot of discipline. This is the time it takes to implement a new habit. After it has been implemented once, it is easier to follow it.
- Take advantage of the interest rate effect: Even a few minutes a day will help you make serious differences in the long run.
- One good habit quickly becomes several. Habits can develop a high momentum of their own and affect other areas of life.
Moreover, we have to unfold the motivation myth for ourselves. Nobody is motivated all the time. Therefore, it is so important to have discipline. Habits are like a muscle. It gets more comfortable with time, but we need to train them consistently.
4. Grow Together: Create Commitment to yourself and others
Make yourself accountable in writing down your goals and visualizing them. Moreover, communicate them to other people. This can dramatically increase your success rate if you get support from those around you.
Of course, this takes courage and vulnerability to share something you might fail. Therefore, reframing failure and “all or nothing thinking” to learning and “better get something done” can take a lot of pressure away. The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort. No perfection is needed.
5. Don't forget to celebrate
The journey is the biggest reward. Therefore, enjoy it and celebrate achieved milestones along the way!
Storyteller, foodie, life-long learner – may be the three words that describe me best. Unfortunately, you cannot make a living by only eating food, even though it’s healthy. Therefore, I have developed my skills in Marketing, Online Communications and Content Management to enlighten people around the globe about the power of nature and its contribution to animal as well as human health. Since February 2022, Marlene started a new career path outside of Delacon.