80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. (Source: Business Insider)
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. Year after year, I observed people making and breaking resolutions as if it was the norm (actually, with an 80% failure rate, it is the norm!) and not thinking twice about it. My theory is that people fail because they make bold statements which can be hard to stick to: “I will go to the gym every day!” “I will not eat carbs anymore!” “I will lose 50 pounds!” “I will not spend any money on new clothes!”
I, personally, don’t like to set myself up for failure so I thought, how can I approach the idea of a resolution from a different angle?
The answer, for me, is to turn my resolution into a “priority”. Last year, for instance, I thought about what I wanted in the year ahead and asked myself what my biggest personal goal was. It was to get back into shape. How do I reach that goal? Through exercise. Instead of making a bold statement, “I will workout every day for 2 hours!” I simply thought, I will make going to the gym my number one priority. Executing that was simple. I scheduled my favorite gym classes into my calendar so when I pulled up my calendar to schedule other items, I tried my very best to schedule around my gym time. Of course, occasionally, there was a missed class due to a work meeting or an unforeseen sick child at home, but for the most part, I’ve stuck with my schedule and I’m in much better shape than I was in 2017!
I usually make a list of three “priorities” to personally strive for each year. Note that work, kids, and household management are a given “priority” so they are never on my list. The key that makes prioritizing successful is scheduling the priorities into your busy life. Whether your priority is daily meditation, learning to play the piano, game night with your kids, or eating healthier, setting and scheduling the priorities into your calendar opens up the time to integrate them into your life. (For eating healthier, schedule time to plan meals and time to go to the store.)
Finding the time to work on personal (or work) goals is half the battle. The other half is changing your mindset during the activity – especially if it is something that you aren’t necessarily looking forward to. There were days in my gym class when I didn’t feel like being there, but I would say to myself, I have 60 scheduled minutes to do this and I need to maximize it because I want reach my goal.
So if you’ve set resolutions this year, I challenge you to turn them into priorities and schedule them into your calendar. When the year comes to a close, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you are now in the 20% who’ve succeeded in keeping their “resolutions” and it feels pretty damn good!