New year, new you … but, for how long? Stop failing your new years resolutions.
It was hard to celebrate this festive season just gone. Australia’s current bushfire crisis has seen thousands of people displaced from their homes, as well as the tragic deaths of 27 Aussies (at the time we published this article).
Yet despite this stark and scary reminder of how fragile life can be, research shows that many of us will have given up on our new year’s resolutions by this point of the year.
And really, most of our resolutions are pretty achievable.
So we’ve got a plan, on how to avoid failing your new year resolutions.
What did you resolve for 2020?
It seems hard to imagine that so many Australians are heading into 2020 with nothing. More than 2000 properties have been destroyed in NSW and Victoria alone this bushfire season – and that number is still rising.
Thousands of people have found themselves homeless. Hundreds of children have no school to go to. People have lost businesses, livestock and even loved ones.
For these people, the start of 2020 is not about struggling to stick to a new year’s resolution, it’s about starting their lives all over again. It’s about rebuilding their homes and their close knit communities from scratch.
Those of us unaffected by the fires have little reason to give up on our resolutions for the year. Getting fit, losing weight and saving for a deposit are easy to achieve – it’s really just up to us to make it happen.
So why do most of us fail in this regard?
80% of people fail their new year’s resolutions.
According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton in the US, just 8% of participants went on to achieve their new year’s resolutions while a whopping 80% failed their new years resolutions.
In a more recent study conducted by Strava, a social network for athletes, researchers found that many people slip up within the first two weeks. After analysing more than 31.5 million online global activities, Strava found that January 12 was the day when most people reported failing their resolution.
We are creatures of habit.
Perhaps one of the reasons we fail our goals is because we are creatures of habit.
Usually any sort of change requires a change in the way we do things – but we often act without being aware of what we are doing.
Since we do things from habit, it makes sense to change our habits in order to change our lives.
But this is also a difficult task for most of us to master. Research from University College London, shows it can take as long as 66 days to break an old habit and even longer to master a new one.
According to Nathan Birch, head of Binvested, it is essential to form the right habits for success. He has spent the past 20 years or so making goals and sticking to them – which is how he managed to build an investment portfolio of more than 200 properties in just 16 years.
“It’s habit forming – it’s how you live your day to day life,” he says.
While partying on a private yacht sounds appealing to Nathan, he knows that doing this will stop him from reaching his goals.
The same goes for all of us who are saving for a deposit. While an overseas holiday does sound appealing, it will stop us from using that money to buy a property.
So, when it comes to sticking with our new year’s resolutions, it is important to shape them into a way of life rather than an isolated goal to achieve.
Staying true to your dreams despite what others think.
Another reason many of us give up so easily on our resolutions is that we allow ourselves to worry about what others think and say.
But while the advice of loved ones can be important, it is important to filter out opinions that are unfounded.
Nathan experienced a lot of doubt and concern from his friends and family when he started his property journey, but he knew it was important to listen to advice from those who had achieved financial freedom rather than those who were burdened by the daily grind mindset.
Mixing with positive people who have achieved their own goals can inspire you and help you stay focused on your resolutions.
Weathering the pain.
Often, we give up easily on our resolutions because we don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices. Sacrifices can be painful because they usually involve stepping out of our comfort zones.
Nathan says he went through a lot of stress and complication on his journey, and that dealing with these things in a constructive way was essential for his success.
Keeping a journal and having a strong support network can really make a difference when it comes to weathering the pain of change. Being part of a community can help to solidify your efforts and keep you moving forward.
Nathan’s tips for how to avoid failing your new year resolutions.
There are plenty of things you can do this year to stop failing your new year’s resolutions. Here are five ways to bring your new year’s resolutions to fruition.
- Share your goals with others.
“I always express my goals – I talk about them openly to people,” says Nathan.
“It puts them out there in the universe.”
He says by sharing his goals with others, it creates energy towards them happening.
Another reason this works is because it creates a conversation point. For instance, say you told your friend you were going to learn the guitar this year. The next time you see them, they will probably ask how the guitar lessons were going. If you hadn’t done anything towards learning the guitar, you would feel embarrassed, and this would motivate you to try harder.
Visualise your goals.
Creative visualisation is another way you can create energy towards making your goals happen.
Nathan says when he sets new goals, he first goes to the future and sees himself being there. Then, he works out what he needs to do to become that person, before coming back to the present day and making it happen.
Once you have visualised how you want your life to look, it can be helpful to return to this inner place, anytime you feel things are too hard. This can help you to re-centre and stay focused.
Use technology to your advantage.
Thanks to our busy lifestyles, it can be hard to remember to stick to your goals. But luckily, help is at hand.
“Technology is better than ever before,” says Nathan.
There are many apps and reminders that we can use, to help us organise our time better and stay on top of our goals. By scheduling time towards our resolutions, we will have a much better chance at sticking with them.
Make SMART goals.
It’s important to be realistic when it comes to setting goals. Nathan suggests breaking things down to see what is possible before pushing to achieve that little bit more.
SMART goals are ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
These criteria help to shape a goal into a plan of attack, by forcing you to consider what resources you will need, and how you will measure your success. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you will need to be specific in how many kilos you want to lose. Measuring your weight at regular intervals will give an indicator of your success. Setting an achievable and realistic weight loss target will prevent against relapse from disappointment, and setting a time frame will keep you motivated.
Create structure around your goals.
If you break your goals down into SMART ones, and understand the importance of forming new habits, you will then have a strong framework to work with. Nathan says he has always formed “To-do lists” from his goals, which give him a solid plan of attack.
Then, it is just a matter of ticking off each step that you need to take, to make those goals become reality.
Reviewing both your long-term and short-term goals regularly will keep you on the right track – and if you are ever in doubt about pulling the trigger on a decision, the best thing you can do is ask “Will this bring me closer to achieving my goals?”
If the answer is yes, then go for it!
Don’t set New Year resolutions at all.
Rather than setting a goal that you commit to for a year, why not set mini goals.
What do you think feels more achievable for an overweight person, who is about to embark on a weight loss journey – focusing on the 50kgs they need to lose in total or focusing on losing 1kg a week.
When you think about saving for a house deposit, what sounds more overwhelming – having to save $30,000 in 12 months or having to save $2,500 per month … or even, if we take that one step further, having to save $575 per week?
Have a big goal in mind – sure. But break it down in to manageable chunks and take it step by step.
As you progress, you’ll become more motivated to continue. And one week where you are unable to hit your mini goal will be less likely to derail your whole year!
I wonder how many people might stick to their goals, and achieve them, if they did that.
Let us know below, how you plan to stick to your goals this year.