Achieving Your Resolutions With Scientific Hacks
How many of you are still sticking to yours?
Whether you made big or small goals, it’s easy to focus on that end destination, the big picture, and completely forget about taking the small steps first. We often think that those are the easy changes, the ones that shouldn’t be so hard to make. So you go through January and try a few things, but oftentimes give up. You feel defeated.
However, those are habits that we’ve built over time and we need to set strategies in place to outsmart them. The first step is to settle on a single resolution, one that really means a lot to you and will ultimately make you happier. Sometimes just deciding on a resolution can take some time. Give yourself the freedom to truly think about how you want to live your life and what changes you are willing to make.
From there you can begin to plan a way to hack your way to success. For an ultimate collection of statistics, history, and those coveted scientific hacks to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions, check out this thorough infographic below.
A Year-Long Journey to Your New Year’s Resolutions.
At the turn of every new year we find ourselves in this place. Making resolutions for change or somehow bettering ourselves with the idea that this or that resolution will somehow transform us.
We are entirely convinced of our abilities to achieve our goal.
Then, by the end of January… well, do you know many people who are still working on achieving their goals in February? What happened to that conviction from just 4 weeks ago?
Why do we make promises and try to swear off deeply-ingrained habits that fail over and over again? We really believe we can do it, or do we?
A Word to Consider: Journey
Maybe we are afraid of the real steps it takes to not eat sugar or not spend money at Starbucks every week or to take on new fitness goals. So we voice our desire, but never actually think about how hard it will be to change the underlying habits. Or, we just don’t want to think about the actual changes involved.
We’ve all heard the age-old adage: Life is a journey, not a destination. I found Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words were even more profound: “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.”
His literary genius has framed a particular conundrum for us all. Why do we focus so much on our destinations? Whether it’s obtaining some lofty goal of earning a certain amount of money, owning the best car, or getting fit, we focus so much on the final result.
Revisiting those wise words of Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson, we should apply his knowledge to how we construct our resolutions. Instead of saying no more sugar, we should slowly apply changes. Gradually introducing habit shifts will have more staying power than a radical change that is too hard to sustain.
More importantly, we should make sure that we enjoy the journey into our resolutions. Instead of saying no to sugar, say yes to something else enjoyable like tea. Instead of struggling into a new workout routine, find some kind of movement you enjoy.
These habit changes will look different for each individual, there’s no one size fits all. So really think about what you want your journey to look like. Embrace new, positive changes that motivate your own personal growth and make you happier.
Let’s talk numbers: One Year = Twelve Months
Only 4% of people achieve New Year’s goals according to some research. Of course, studies vary anywhere from 4% to 23%, either way, the number isn’t high.
So, how do we break our habit of failing our resolutions? (Which, if anything, is only perpetuating an unfortunate cycle of our inability to achieve our resolutions.)
The first thing is to realize that January is not the sum of the year. There is no need to confine your new resolutions to that single month, nor to consider yourself having failed if you don’t succeed within the first month.
January is just after the holiday rush, we are all struggling with the winter blues and 31 days is hardly enough time to make any lasting changes.
It can take anywhere from 18 to 245 days to break a habit depending on the individual and the goals in mind. The study indicated that an average of 66 days is needed to succeed in making habit changes.
However, why make New Year Resolutions if you aren’t intending to make a lasting (year-long) change?
First, dedicate some time to reflect on just why you want to make a resolution if you want to make one at all. Just one resolution is all you need. Find what your motivations and desires are before committing to this one change.
Then plan out what you can actually do to realize this change. What are small, simple steps you can take throughout the following months to get closer to this goal? Find enjoyable changes that you will want to do and implement them slowly. One new thing every two weeks or even one new thing each month is enough.
For a thorough illustration of the statistics, history and, most importantly, scientifically proven hacks, check out the infographic below from Reservations.com. Just remember, this whole process is a journey. Make sure you enjoy each step of the way.