Well, it’s the first day of 2014 and you no doubt, just like me, are on the verge of choosing whether to proclaim a New Year’s resolution or not. It’s a challenging prospect as it requires admitting what’s not ideal in your life right now and a plan of action to turn it around in the next 365 days.
With an 8-week-old baby and a three-and-a-half year old preschooler, getting more sleep is definitely on my agenda. Yoga, meditation, time management and a system for paperwork is also up there on the list. Then there is my resolve to ensure I am living life in the moment and to its fullest, appreciating how very lucky I and my family are that we have the opportunities we do, that we are all healthy and that there are four of us (after all, this time last year there were only three…).
On the other hand, my three-year-old son has resolved that he needs
more toys, more time playing with
Mummy, and should become
a spaceman…or an alien
The good news – for my son at least – is that studies show a full 8 per cent of New Year resolutions will be a complete success! (That’s 3 per cent more chance than we were given for our third round of IVF – which carried a 5% chance of success.). The bad news is that the other 92 per cent will be a dismal failure. At least that’s according to research by John Norcross, author of Changeology and psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
So what’s the trick to being amongst the successful 8 per cent?
Skip the resolutions Studies have shown that new, positive and rewarding habits are more successful than resolving to stop a negative habit. So, for example, instead of resolving to lose weight, you could instead start a new habit of drinking two glasses of water before breakfast.
Create subgoals Norcross suggests that transforming your one big goal into much smaller actions that you can easily implement and track on a day-to-day basis is another key to success. So, for example, if your goal is to have the kids at school on time each day, then your daily subgoals might be to wake half an hour earlier each morning, have lunches packed the night before, and have a set a place for helmets and scooters/bikes/skateboards (or other such inspiring mode of transport) for speedy departure in the morning. If you can tick the box on each of those subgoals every day, it will stand you in good stead to succeed with your broader goal.
Enlist mentors Of course, having people around who will coach you on your tough days and keep you accountable if you start trying to cut corners is a crucial part of the package too; just make sure the friends you ask to help keep you on track are people who really want to see you succeed (even the best of friends can subconsciously want you to fail at something they themselves struggle with) and who will be hardy enough to call you into action if you start weakening rather than simply agree with your excuses! Take a look through the brilliant self change exercises on the Changeology website, as these are a great resource for helping you identify real goals and plot a path to success for the year to come!
Share your story Please share with us the positive new habits you have created in 2014 – after all, they might just inspire someone else and we can also become part of your cheerleading team to help you make it happen.
Here’s to a brilliant New Year and an inspiring 2014. We look forward to sharing your journey.