A Better Alternative to New Year's Resolutions

Have you ever wondered how New Year’s resolutions started in the first place? History shows us there were many religious traditions that focused on making promises to God for the upcoming year as well as reflecting on self-improvement. Although resolutions are not necessary religious these days, it is a time when people feel like they have a chance to start fresh and work on their goals.

Unfortunately, I am sure you are aware that many times these resolutions do not work out so well and are very short-lived. A study in 2007 by Richard Wiseman found only 12% of 3000 participants actually achieved their resolution. This very low number does not give much hope for resolutions.

So what is going on? Why is the success rate so low? There are actually several common mistakes people tend to make when they declare their resolutions on December 31st. Most resolutions are:

  • Too General

  • Unrealistic

  • Made with No Action Plan

  • Attempted with No Accountability

Additionally, we also make the false assumption that our new resolution will magically happen without any effort or change in our normal routines.

The good news is there is an alternative to these resolutions. There is a way to reach your goals and increase the likelihood of success. I call it putting goals in action. This includes:

  • Making SMART and measurable goals

  • Determining practical and specific steps toward your goals

  • Seeking support from others

  • Creating a consistent accountability plan

  • Using rewards for motivation

  • Tracking progress