By Daniel Lewis
Sure enough it is that time of the year again when we sprint to the end of the current year and start off a New Year fresh. During the next few weeks millions of people will attempt to live out their New Year’s resolutions, the vast majority of these are positive goals. Sadly, only about 20% of New Year’s Resolutions are successful. I am proud to say that the past three years my New Year’s resolutions have been successful and I’d like to share with you why I think I am able to keep these goals.
Attainable goals – Too often people get all amped up and choose a goal that although may be attainable requires a ton of dedication and will feel like a complete 180. It is very difficult to change your day to day overnight which often times would be required from aiming too high. For example, a goal of losing 20 pounds is a very common New Year’s resolution. But how do you intend on getting there? Is it through dieting? Exercise? Both? You can see how sometimes a goal is doomed from the start because there is no game plan and simply a goal. Avoid being too specific and focused so much on the end result with your New Year’s resolution.
Focus on habits. Not results – The reason why I feel I was able to accomplish the past the three years of New Year’s Resolutions is because instead of focusing on a goal based off an outcome. I focused on a goal based off of habit. For example, in 2018 my goal was to work out 100 times in a year. Obviously my intention was to lose weight but by focusing on the habit versus the goal a few things occurred. First, I noticed that regardless of results the goal could be met. Second, I noticed that I was already getting a sense of gratification working toward the goal without worrying about the results. Lastly, I realized that it wasn’t losing the weight that was going to make me feel better. It was getting out there and being active that raised my energy levels and really opened up new routines that I really enjoyed that I still do three years later.
Make your goal a nonnegotiable – Choose a goal that you know you can commit to and make it a nonnegotiable. When you do this, you realize how quickly you can add on to the foundation. For example, in 2017 my goal was to do Yoga every Sunday morning. This was my first New Year’s resolution that I was able to keep and the reason for it is that it was small enough to turn into a nonnegotiable. So much so I’ve been doing Yoga now every Sunday morning for the past four years.
Be flexible – Life happens and you have to be willing to adapt in order to meet your goals. For example, in 2018 when I injured nearly every joint in my body at one point or another weightlifting it could have been an easy year for me to give up all together. Instead, I found other ways to work out. More cardio, more core, more legs. Whatever it was at the time I didn’t allow an injury to one area of my body to be an excuse to stop going to the gym altogether. I found ways to work through it. Another great example of this is my New Year’s Resolution for 2020 which was to volunteer 1% of my time to the local communities. In January I had it all planned out. Multiple days were to be spent at my alma matter Cal Poly Pomona (Go Broncos!) along with some volunteer work at a local pet shelter. Then COVID stuck and everything I had planned was cancelled. Did I use that as an excuse to give up? I sure wanted to, but I didn’t. I found ways to donate time online and remotely by helping out with interviewing and resumes.
So, there you have it. My personal recipe for accomplishing New Year’s Resolutions. These pointers have helped me reach four years of completed goals (PS my goal for 2019 was to play over 50 rounds of golf that year, goal complete 😊). With this approach I have no doubt you will be successful in your New Year’s resolution! So make it attainable, focus on a habit, commit and know when to be flexible.
Good Luck and Happy New Year!!!