Two months into the year and less than 60 percent of individuals who made resolutions have kept them, according to Statistic Brain.
It’s still better to make resolutions than not, Statistic Brain notes. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.
You likely won’t succeed at your resolutions if you don’t have action steps and ways to be accountable. Think of your resolutions as SMART goals.
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T – time-bound
The point is that if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, and you don’t have a way to measure it, you are more likely to fail.
An example is the resolution to lose weight. Simply saying your resolution is to lose weight likely will not lead to weight loss. However, if you apply the SMART principles to it, you will more likely succeed. Your resolution becomes “Lose 20 pounds in four months by doing X, Y and Z.”
I have a goal of writing a book. Once, I applied the SMART principles to it, I’ve had much greater success. Now my goal is to complete the first draft of my book by May. It’s specific and I can measure it (is the draft completed?). It’s attainable and realistic because I gave myself five months to complete the research and writing.
To further ensure my success, I broke my goal down into tasks. I have identified writing days and have scaled back other activities. I also have an accountability partner with whom I discuss my progress every two weeks.
Another example is walking. I purchased a Fitbit and walk 10,000 steps a day. (I admit, though, I don’t always achieve that goal.) I have my best success when it’s timebound. Last summer, I set a goal of walking 1 million steps between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It’s basically the same as walking 10,000 steps a day, but there was a finite time to achieve the goal. I created a tracking form so that on days when I did not reach 10,000 steps I would make up the steps the next day. At the end of the period I had walked more than 1 million steps! And I rewarded myself with a new, more advanced Fitbit.
Sometimes, though, your goal is a bit more nebulous. One of mine is to slow down and have time for reading. I write down all the books I read. Yes, it’s fun to go back and look at the list, but what the list really does for me is identify when I am overcommitted. Typically, I average five books a month. When I look at my list and see that I have only read two books, I know it’s time to schedule down time.
The third month of 2017 has arrived. Now is the perfect time to recommit to your resolutions. Make sure they are reasonable and that you can track your progress against a deadline. If you do, this may be the year that you keep your resolutions.