Learn something new
Be more productive
Get out of debt
Land a better job
Get a promotion
The list of New Year’s resolutions is endless, and possibly pointless.
According to researcher Richard Wiseman,1 50% of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Of that percentage, 88% of them fail, leading to 156 million failed resolutions each year.
We want 2015 to be different, so we brought in Manhattan lifestyle and business coach Robin DeMarco, who helps young people meet their goals all year long.
DeMarco says the reason so many people fail at their resolutions is because people set too many goals that are unachievable, vague and provide no real sense of progress along the way. New Year’s resolutions often are set based on guilt or shame around something that they are not doing or lacking currently, so it can be a self-defeating process, she adds.
“They can be positive because they can give people that added energy to be proactive and take charge of their life,” she said. “People have more energy when they have time to reboot, and the new year is their opportunity to reset. It’s not really about the time of year, but rather about setting the intention to do something.”
If you want to succeed at your resolutions in 2015 then keep reading because we’re about to reveal all of DeMarco’s tips and tricks for a better life this new year.
Phase 1: Preparation
Conduct an assessment. An exercise DeMarco finds helpful for clients is conducting an assessment of the prior year. What was successful? Every year has successes no matter how bad it was. List those things, and ask yourself what you learned during that time. Then apply those lessons moving forward.
Limit the number of resolutions. Limit the number of resolutions you set to one or two, DeMarco says. Our brains have only so much capacity to do something, so there is no follow-through, which is why you should really focus on only one or two.
Set attainable goals. DeMarco says this is really what coaching is — simply breaking down a goal into small actionable steps, then creating a strategy to reach that goal. What is the absolute next step to reach that goal? Setting attainable goals gives you the ability to track your steps, and from that, you know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. It also gives you little wins along the way, which can be a positive reinforcement and give you more momentum on the way to meeting your resolutions.
Define Success. Make success more tangible by setting realistic expectations, otherwise you constantly feel like you’re failing. What does success look like for you?
Phase 2: Execution
Hold yourself accountable. This is one of the reasons coaching is a vastly growing profession right now — because we’re the worst at holding ourselves accountable. We put ourselves on the back burner and then we don’t meet our goals. Share your resolutions with family and friends or on social media. Accountability can be a good motivator.
Reframe the goal. When it comes to resolutions, don’t make them sound so bad, DeMarco says. For instance, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, don’t look at it as having to cut something out of your life. Reframe the resolution in a positive light. DeMarco recommends asking yourself why you picked this resolution in the first place. If you want to lose weight then it may be your why is “to feel better in my clothes and be more confident.” Says DeMarco: “Sometimes what people say they want and what they actually want are different, which can totally shift the action plan.”
Write it down. This may sound silly, DeMarco says, but writing stuff down actually stimulates the activating system, the part of your brain that acts as a filter. When you write something down, your brain thinks it’s important and realizes this is something you need to focus on. Also, DeMarco recommends putting your goals where you will see it everyday. That way you’re always looking at it and sort of reminding yourself about it.
For more information on DeMarco, visit CoachedByRobin.com.Footnotes