"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw
Of the 45% of us who make a resolution, 8% will fully accomplish said resolution, while 49% will experience some form of success. According to the University of Toronto Psychology professor, Peter Herman, less than 10% of us achieve full success on resolutions because we’re not ready to change. His research into New Year’s resolutions finds that people make their resolutions overly ambitious, unrealistic and out of context with their existing life.
As you’re evaluating your readiness to change, also consider reading this Forbes article, which discusses psychology researchers work on the Transtheoretical Model of Change, which charts 5 essential stages one goes through when reshaping behavior.
- Precontemplation – In this stage, you don’t even see a need to change. Folks setting resolutions are past this stage already.
- Contemplation – Now you’re thinking about changing, but are not sure you can commit or do it. This is THE stage for setting soon-to-be-failing New Year’s resolutions.
- Preparation – Basically, this is the time you plan how the change happens. Lists, schedules, smaller goals, accountability build ins, etc.. . . but you’re not done yet.
- Action - Oh, sounds easy when it’s just a “stage.” But DOING the work, tapping into the daily discipline to enact the plan, is, you guessed it, an essential part of success.
- Maintenance – This is where it all goes to hell. A fair amount of people can muster the willpower to ACT for a week or two, but then it’s all too easy to reward yourself for success by suspending action. Maintaining actions and new habits is the only way to make resolutions stick.
Embracing these stages of change is an essential part of becoming the 8% that fully succeed. And while you're looking at tips for resolution success, consider this compilation of the key advice bandied about online.
- Keep the resolution realistic and manageable.
- The goal should be a positive action (walk daily) not the absence of action (lose 10 lbs).
- Make sure you enjoy the process (action stage) of the goal.
- Consider the maintenance and plan for the long term.
- Use positive reinforcement and build in rewards for small successes.
- Don’t fall prey to the All or Nothing mindset that derails so many goals. That’s just an easy out and a sign you were not ready to change.
Good luck out there and remember, if 45% of 300 million people make a resolution and 8% of those people succeed . . . that's over 10 million people that completely rock out their resolution! You CAN be one of them.
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