Keep Going! 10 Ways to Keep those New Year Resolutions Going
Your willpower and determination may have kept your resolutions going so far. But our willpower is a fickle friend and tends to ebb and flow. It’ll let us down at some point. Here are some strategies that may increase the likelihood of keeping those resolutions going.
Whatever you’ve resolved to achieve – double your business, secure more funding, spend more time with the family, go on a 3-week long-haul holiday, attain a target weight, run a marathon – the reality is that you’ll be getting there by adopting some new daily activities and routines. That might be more prospecting calls every day or more time on the treadmill or fewer pies at lunchtime.
Here are a few ideas I’ve tried over the years that have worked for me:
1. Just For Today
Doing something everyday for months or years or even the rest of our life can be daunting to say the least. The truth is, we only have to commit to doing our activity just for today. We can decide tomorrow morning if we want to do it again. Periodically it’s good to think about the future – but for most of the time keeping ourselves within these wonderful little compartments called days can be a very useful mindset. Tomorrow can look after itself.
2. Use Your Calendar
Deciding when we’re going to do something and then putting it in our calendar significantly increases the likelihood that we’ll do it. Typically we just put our meetings in our calendar and our 10 prospect calls might be in our heads or perhaps on a To Do list. Actually putting Prospect Calls in our calendar for tomorrow between 10.15am and 11:00am increases the chances of us making those calls. If you’re going to the gym, put it in your calendar.
3. Something is Better Than Nothing
Your perfectly scheduled day collapses. You can’t make your 10 client catch-up calls. Then just do 1 or 2. What’s important is the routine of doing something everyday. Doing something everyday creates the habit. (Depending on what it is and who you are, it’s more likely to be 2 months than 3 weeks). In the early days it’s important to convince yourself with daily repetition, however few the reps, that you’re the person who keeps in touch with clients. In fact, far better to start with very few reps. So few that you cant fail!
4. Get Back Up!
So your day really does collapse! Those pies look fabulous. And you might as well have a piece of cake to. And two Mars Bar from the garage when you’re paying for your petrol because you’ve totally blown it now and they’re 2 for £1. However, tomorrow is another day. You can wake in the morning and choose to adopt a healthy eating regime just for today. We all fail and fall. But the real key is to get back up again.
5. Pinch Your Children’s Star Chart
When you’ve spoken to one of your team for 10 minutes about how their work’s going, reward yourself with a star. Create a grid that shows the days of the month and your daily activity and each time you complete it put a tick in the box. Stick is somewhere visible. It’s a small thing put you’ll get used to seeing the ticks and will want to keep them going.
6. Remind Yourself To Do It
Introduce some kind of physical reminder that’s going to prompt you to do your activity. You might get an old fashioned phone and sit it in the middle of your desk. You might have a photograph of your team in a frame on our desk. You might put your gym bag on the passenger seat of your car the night before. You might have a fruit bowl next to the kettle.
7. Why Are Doing This Anyway?
It’s good to remind ourselves why we’re putting ourselves through this pain. And it can be painful. (Well, actually it’s often the thought of doing it that’s the painful bit! Once we get going it’s usually okay.) List out the future benefits of doing what you’re doing – and the consequences of not doing it. Rewrite your why list periodically. The more things and the more important things you’ve got on your list the more fuel you’ll have for keeping going. If you can’t think of any good reasons for doing what you’re doing then stop. You’re wasting your time.
8. Remove Temptations
List out the things that are going to potentially knock you off course. It could be gossipy conversations in the brew room, your negative mates at the pub, Facebook, something good on the television. Rather than strengthening your willpower to resist these temptations simply avoid them. Don’t go in the brew room. Don’t go to the pub or get some new mates. Turn off all your social media notifications and bury the icons deep in a multiple folders on your phone. Hide the remote control or cut the plug off the television.
9. Tell The Story of How You Crashed and Burned
It’s New Year’s Eve 2018 and you’re sharing with your family and friends all the reasons (and excuses) that resulted in you not keeping this year’s new year’s resolutions. Once you’ve created you list of reasons for failure, for each item (i) think of ways to reduce the likelihood of that thing happening and (ii) decide what’ll you’ll do if it does happen. Going through this mental exercise will increase the chance of you overcoming the obstacles that will appear. It’s sometimes good to think negatively. I don’t know why but real life is set up as a mixture of ups and downs.
10. Get Some Support
Two is better than one. Our commitment to someone else can often be stronger than our commitment to ourselves. If you know your pal is waiting for you at the end of the road on a dark, wet, windy, cold January night you’re more likely to keep your commitment to run 5 miles that evening.
If you’re in business and have decided that this is the year that things are really going to change then let’s have a chat. It’s always good to verbalise your aspirations and plans to someone else – and I’m a decent questioner and listener. If appropriate, as well as helping with strategy and tactics, I can step into that support and accountability role that is often so vital in any success story.
Together, let’s make 2018 a prosperous year in every way for all of us.