All the parties and celebrations to welcome the New Year feel like a long time ago.
Remember the New Year Resolutions you made?
Are you still going about it as enthusiastically and as determined as you first made them or have you waved the white flag?
If you have given up on your New Year resolutions, you are not alone. A research done by John Norcross, a psychology professor from the University of Scranton in the United States found that 25 percent of people who make New Year resolutions abandon their resolutions after one week. Even if you are still sticking to your New Year resolutions, you may want to read on as the same research found that when June comes around, the percentage of people who abandon their resolutions totals 85%!
Here are some pointers (the same ones we were first taught when writing compositions in schools) to save our New Year Resolutions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How (in no particular order)
Have a clear and concise resolution. If you listed down a resolution such as “To save more money”, you may want to define what exactly the “more” is. A better resolution could be “To save $6,000 in 2011”. By having a specific goal, you will be able to monitor your exact progress, or lack of it, and keep your eyes on the end result that you want.
Just because it is a “New Year resolution” does not mean you need to complete all your goals in a year. Some goals are more challenging and require more time. There is nothing wrong with having a two- or three-year plan for your ultimate goal and breaking them up into smaller yearly resolutions. For someone who is smoking ten cigarettes a day, it may be too much of a stretch to have a “To quit smoking in 2011” as a resolution. A more realistic resolution for the year could be “To cut down smoking to 5 cigarettes a day in 2011” and finally quit smoking the next year. A person will be more likely to stick to a realistic and achievable goal.
Nothing can galvanise a person in the pursuit of his goals better than having a purpose. Findout the reason behind why you want to list something down as a New Year resolution. Maybe the $6,000 you want to save is to bring your parents overseas for a short vacation? Could you want to quit smoking because you want to be a mum? Know the why and it will go a long way in helping you to keep to your New Year resolutions when the going gets tough.
Understanding where you work best can help you in achieving your New Year resolutions. Do you work better at home where you are most comfortable or is your bed, television and internet distracting you? Be it studying or exercising, understanding the environment you work best in could help a great deal in planning whether or not you should be doing the activity at home or you should be meeting a friend out of the comfort of your home in the gym or library.
No man is an island, cliché but true. Share your resolutions with a trusted friend or mentor. Letting another person know about your resolutions makes you accountable to someone else other than yourself. Get your friend or mentor to check in on your progress. That will keep you on your toes and ensure that you stick to your New Year resolutions.
Better still; find a buddy who shares the same resolution. A promise to meet a friend in the gym for workout or at the library for studies is much harder to break than one you make to yourself. Having a buddy can help in monitoring and benchmarking your progress and more importantly, to keep you motivated when you feel like giving up.
The reason why I feel 85% of people give up on their New Year resolutions within 6 months is the lack of an action plan. The “how” you are going to do it. Listing down “losing weight” as a New Year resolution is not going to help us if we do not have a concrete action plan. Plan how often you are going to exercise a week, what kind of exercises you are going to do and where (refer to the above listed pointers). Give yourself a timeline and deadlines along the way to get things done. For example, if you want to learn a new language, give yourself a time line to find where the language schools are, the costs of attending the language classes and signing up for the classes. Things without a deadline often fail to get done.
There is still time to save 2011’s New Year resolutions.
My New Year resolution? To self-publish a book on simple money habits, even if I am the only reader.
Sponsors or advertisers, anyone?