Why are you bothering to write any New Year's Resolutions in 2011? Don't you know that the statistics show that 98% of people FAIL to achieve their resolutions? You know my one piece of advice for how to stick to a resolution this year? One that will GUARANTEE success:
DON'T MAKE ONE
Okay, I'm only half joking. But think about it ~ why put yourself through the guilt of failing?
So how do you keep to your resolutions and succeed in life?
ADVICE FROM AN ANTI-SELF HELP, SELF HELP GURU
If you can't help yourself, then take the ever-wise words of Richard Wiseman, author of one of my favorite non-self help, self-help books 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot Wiseman has some great advice about setting a goal and sticking to it. Here are 5 of Richard Wiseman's essential tips for sticking to your resolutions are:
1. Don't make a resolution you have previously made
Making a resolution you've set and failed in the past will only set you up for frustration and another round of guilt. If your goal was to lose weight, try a different way of reaching it this year e.g. exercise at least three times a week, or walk to work, or swap pizzas and burgers for salads
2. Be Specific
Don't make vague plans like 'make more money' or 'get rich'. You need something very specific such as 'find a part-time evening job for at least 3 evenings a week' or 'spend February selling unwanted stuff in the house on Ebay'
Here's a few articles to get you started:
3. Go public
In Wiseman's study, 34% of goal-setters are more likely to succeed if they told their family and friends about their commitment vs 25% who didn't. Can you imagine increasing your chances of success simply by telling people about it?
4. Make Only One Resolution
Don't try to take on too much. You are much better off focusing on one thing and putting your heart and soul into that.
5. Don't Use A Carrot, Use A Stick
It's much better to think the positives and rewards you will get from achieving your resolution, rather than negatives. So instead of staying to yourself 'I must quit smoking so I don't get cancer', think "I must quit smoking so I can run around with my kids without getting out of breath, and my clothes will smell lovely and fresh every day". If you want to lose weight - instead of thinking "I must lose weight because I'm a fat, ugly cow that nobody could possibly love", think "I will lose 2 inches off my stomach so that I can buy wear a fantastic new swimsuit for my beach holiday in July".
What if you're stuck for some new and interesting resolutions this year?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON RESOLUTIONS?
The popular goal-setting and goal-sharing website, 43things.com, makes a list every year of the most popular goals of their members.
The MOST POPULAR RESOLUTIONS 2011
1. Run 5K or 10K
2. Learn or try something new
3. Lose Weight
4. Save Money
6. Take A Photo Every Day For A Whole Year
7. Fall In Love
8. Get A Job
10. Read more
MOST COMMON NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS 2010
1. Lose Weight
2. Be Happy
3. Fall In Love
4. Get A Job
6. Quit Smoking
- yes, just 'love': ain't that cute!
8. Get Married
9. Find Love
10. Lose My Virginity
Surprisingly, "save more money" was not in 2010's list.
TOP RESOLUTIONS FROM 2009
1. Save Money
2. Stop Biting My Nails
4. Grow My Hair Long
6. Go To Bed Earlier
7. Get More Tattoos
9. Dress Better
10. Make A Smaller Carbon Footprint
COMMON RESOLUTIONS FROM 2008
1. Lose Weight
2. Exercise regularly
3. Stop Biting My Nails
6. Exercise More
7. Bungee Jump
8. Read The Bible
9. Learn Guitar
10. Become Less Shy
UNUSUAL NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
And here's some that I think are off the beaten track.These are REAL goals as listed by people on 43things.
- Learn how to fire twirl
- Grow wings
- Draw faces on the eggs in the fridge
- Run Around Town In A Bear Suit
- Read Every Far Side Comic Strip
- Edit myself into a photo with a celebrity
- Kiss In The Rain
- Wake Up At 5am And Shower As Soon As Possible
- Date A Spaniard
- Use the internet in a positive way
- Launch a satellite in space
- Be the first woman on Mars
- Treat my toenails with the respect they deserve
London's list of goals includes:
- Move Out Of London
- Live For Now
- Run The London Marathon
- Go To At Least 5 Of the 50 Best Restaurants
- Make More Friends In London
- I don't know about you, but these goals feel 'soooo' London!
- Move Out Of New York City
- Run The NYC Marathon
- Walk Across The Brooklyn Bridge
- Find A Therapist That Meets My Needs
- Stop Procrastinating
- Ask Forgiveness Of The Folks I Might Have Hurt In The Past
- and don't you think these goals are also pretty much 'New York'? By the way, the success rate is 36% for New Yorkers achieving these resolutions. That's the same percentage as for London dwellers.
- See the sea
- Take a road trip around Europe
- Become smarter
- Get a big end-of-year bonus
- Lose 8KG in weight
And did you know that Singaporeans include "snuggle and hug" in their list of top resolutions. Ahh! Maybe the people who live in New York and London who want to move out of their respective home cities should consider a move to Singapore!
REALLY COOL NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
Here's some new year resolutions you might wanna steal!
- Do at least one thing every day that you really, REALLY want to do
- Finish eating whenever you start to feel 80% full
- Visit 10 places featured in your favorite movies or books of all time
- Try 20 new recipes
- Write 5 poems before February
- Get up to 100 push-ups or 100 sit-ups in one session
- Live instead of exist
- Write down 100 things that make you happy (besides money)
- Stop caring what other people think of you
- Share a night under the stars
- Find the perfect job that involves playing instead of working
- Learn how to touch type (it makes all the difference, really!)
By the way, if you do want to stop procrastinating and actually achieve the goals you've set for yourself in life, I recommend a book called The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. And I've read a whole bunch of productivity books. Dr Fiore really turns the whole idea of procrastination and getting stuff done on its head. WARNING though: only read it, if you intend to follow the action steps he recommends. Please don't procrastinate by reading a book on procrastination!