How to Succeed at
Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution
by Rochelle Melander
“Long-term results are created by the actions you take every day.”
–Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington,
The 12-Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others do in 12 Months
Only 20 percent of people keep their New Year’s Resolution. That’s right: 80 percent dump their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in February.
So here’s the question: how do those successful people do it?
I have been studying and writing about this for years. Here’s how to beat the trend and successfully keep your resolutions.
Successful people set quarterly goals.
When we plan for the entire year, we often have many goals. And why not? We have the whole year to achieve them. When we look at all of those amazing goals, we often get overwhelmed and a bit freaked out. But because we have the whole year to achieve our goals, we usually procrastinate, putting off our work until later in the year.
Successful people tackle goals one quarter at a time. After considering what you want to accomplish by the end of 2021, choose what you will accomplish by the end of the first quarter.
Successful people tackle one goal at a time.
When we plan for the entire year, we might set a dozen or more goals. But we usually don’t let go of anything to make room for working on a single goal let alone a dozen of them. Having many potential projects can become a huge obstacle to finishing any of them.
People who succeed at keeping their New Year’s resolutions work on one project at a time.
Successful people write specific goals.
When we dream of our ideal future life, we see a healthier, stronger us. We imagine ourselves writing books, appearing on podcasts, and finally quitting our day job. But when we write down our vision or create a vision board, we may forget to put together a plan.
Instead, we have vague resolutions like: Exercise more. Eat better. Write. But we’re never going to get anything done with vague resolutions that we can’t measure.
People who succeed at keeping their New Year’s resolutions write goals that are specific and measurable. Here’s how you might write your resolution so that you can achieve it.
- I will walk every morning for 30 minutes so that I can meet my goal of exercising more.
- I will eat a green vegetable with every meal so that I can meet my goal of eating better.
- I will write every day for [# minutes] at [specific time] so that I can meet my goal of [xyz.]
Successful people schedule time
to work on their goals.
We need to schedule time for the actions that move us toward what we want in life. In a study examining scheduling, the researchers worked with two groups of drug addicts in withdrawal. They asked both groups to write an essay before 5 PM on a certain day. The first group was given no more instructions. The second group was asked to decide when and where they would write the essay. No one in the first group completed the essay. BUT 80 percent of the people who chose when and where they would write their essay finished it.
And here’s a pro tip: the people who are super successful at achieving their goals have turned those tiny daily actions into habits. They do not think about their daily walk because it’s a habit: they just do it.
When you schedule time in your calendar to work on your goal, think about how you can work toward making this a daily habit. Consider:
+Is there a time of day that you are regularly free to write?
+Is there a time of day when you work better?
+Can you tie your writing to something you do every day anyway—like your morning cup of coffee?
When you make your writing a habit, you will do it without question.
Successful people get support.
We get more done when we state our goals and stay accountable to another person or a group of people. In a study done by The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), people increase their chances of success by 95 percent when they keep an accountability appointment with someone who knows their goals.
Get an accountability partner and make a promise to each other to achieve a goal by a certain point. If you need help with this, consider joining one of my accountability groups. Email me to learn more.
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, experienced publishing strategist, and the author of eleven books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. She helps people write and publish books that transform lives. She’s the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports children and teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories. Sign up for her Write Now! Tips Ezine at https://www.writenowcoach.com. Or contact her for a consultation.