In exactly one month, you are going to wake up, feel less hung over than the day before and realise it’s a new year. It is this very moment, that leaves us conflicted. While it can be very liberating closing the chapter of 2014, it is during this time we put the most pressure on ourselves to make the coming year, the best ever.
So how do we do it? Typically, we set out to accomplish the things that the previous year was lacking. The unfortunate reality is that (according to Forbes) 8% of people actually succeed in achieving their New Year resolutions. The good news? You are not entirely hopeless.
When having a think about my own personal fails at resolution achievement, I put down some learnings and insights to help break the pattern and tried to understand why (besides the obvious) this happens.
Our biggest mistake? Making the start date January 1st.
Here’s why you should start your New Year’s Resolution TODAY…
You want to beat the rush
Come January, most people are going to be in the same mindset about what they are planning to achieve for the year and they won’t be shutting up about it. While one may easily think there is power in numbers, in this case, not so much. That photography workshop you had your eye on is all booked up and the gym is packed. Not only do you want to start early to find a spot, but it also reduces the pressure.
January is expensive
Many people tend to put off their resolutions because it costs money in order to achieve them. No one is more broke than in January. CNBC reports that the average household is in debt $7,000 from the holidays. Suddenly, that $75 pottery class doesn’t seem as exciting as it is draining. While right now you may be stressed from having to purchase a bunch of gifts, it may allow you opportunity. Try to find 2 for 1 deals, pick up a seasonal job (those few extra hours a week could help and retailers are always hiring during this time) or put aside some of that holiday bonus for you.
You need to test and learn
The idea of starting crossfit may sound at first like, “omg! this is going to be totally awesome I am going to get ripped and in shape and end up being the healthiest me I can be!” Then once you start, your bad knee comes along and says, “maybe Yoga would make more sense!” Giving yourself a kick-start means you allow yourself to explore the right options for you, and test if it’s right.
It could be the greatest gift
Still not so convinced that in December, it is financially better to jump start your resolution? The best part of the start of December is you get that annual phone call from your mother asking, “So what did you want to put on your wish-list this year?” What better gift, than sponsoring your resolution! With that in mind, be inspired to fund a resolution for your family and friends.
You need to get into the groove
On average it takes 66 days to form a new routine (European Journal of Social Psychology). According to Prevention.com, February 7th is when people give up on their resolutions. Starting early, gives you a chance to develop and be comfortable with your new habits/routine before you find the comfort in numbers and drop off when most others do.
Now that you are convinced that one of the keys to Resolution Success is to start early, here are a few other tips:
1) Make it realistic. One cannot learn fluent Mandarin during a 6 week course.
2) Put dates towards your goals, not just for the end result, but progress dates to help keep you on track
3) Write about your progress and challenges. Letting it out on paper can help you overcome it. Plus, periodically looking back will prove how far you have come, and will help you keep going.
And remember… You can do it!