Do you do New Year’s resolutions?
I have read that fewer than 50% of North Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Of those, 80% have given up by February, and, ultimately, only 10% actually follow through with them. Arguably, not a great success rate.
So maybe it’s not surprising that fewer than half of us bother to make them.
But wait. If there’s seemingly a heightened awareness and even a heightened desire to make personal changes brought about at the end of the year, maybe the timing around making these changes isn’t the problem (unless they’re dreamt up at 12:05 am after a number of glasses of Sparking Inspiration). Instead, maybe it’s the process and our own perceptions of what’s realistic.
We can probably all appreciate the reasons why we often don’t follow through:
- Our resolutions/goals aren’t clear enough – I’m going to lose weight. (How much? By when?)
- Our goals aren’t realistic – I’m going to win every trail race in my area this year. (Even though I’ve never actually run in a trail race.)
- We have too many resolutions – I’m going to lose weight, win every trail race, spend more time with family, travel more, fix up the house, better understand the stock market, etc. (and win the lottery to afford all the time and expenses required to achieve all of this).
- Our resolutions aren’t actually in line with what it is we want to achieve – I’m going to join a gym. (Why? Because I want to get in better shape…even though I hate gyms.)
- The timing isn’t actually that great – I’m going to run my first ultra in June. (I just need to figure out how to fit the training in with the new job that I have to travel for, the arrival of our fourth child, my ailing parent, etc.)
- Our environments don’t support our goals – I’m going to quit smoking. (Even though everyone in my family and most of my friends smoke.)
- Our self-efficacy isn’t that great – I know what I want to do…but I doubt that I have what it takes to achieve my goals.
Research into behaviour change suggests the last one – self-efficacy – is often the number one indicator of success. So, maybe increasing your self-efficacy becomes a goal in itself – to find ways to slowly, incrementally increase the confidence you have in your abilities to make the changes.
And combine this with modest and clear goals that become your scaffolding, upon which you build even more success and confidence – Nothing breeds success like success. So, “I want to lose weight and win every major trail race” becomes: “I want to lose 10 pounds by March 1 and run in my first trail race by July 1…and not join a gym.”
Back to the original question: Do you do New Year‘s Resolutions? If yes, we would love to hear about them (sharing them also increases the likelihood of success).
Happy 2019 Trails!