For many people New Years Eve is the classic time of year they reflect on their shortcomings over the previous 365 days and vow this year will be different. A study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology shows that 44% of people fail with their resolution before February, with only 8% achieving their goals by year-end.
So what do the top 8% do differently?
Studies have shown that those who actually achieve their goals tend to share four common traits.
4 ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions
1. Focus: They have fewer habits to change
Too often people try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to health. They go for extremes. They intend on getting more sleep, exercising more, drinking less alcohol and changing their diet all at the one time. Those that are most successful create a goal around changing just one habit at a time.
Image via West Elm
2. Behaviour: They focus on actions over outcomes
Focus on the changing your habits and your desired outcomes will follow. People are often clear on their desired outcome such as losing weight but lack clarity on how they are going to get there. For instance you might want to set a behavioural goal such as:
- Eating three different colours of vegetables for lunch
- Walk for thirty minutes every morning
- Drinking two liters of water everyday
3. Measure: They keep a record of their progress
With advances in technology, it has become easier to manage and measure your health behaviour. Although stepping on the scales doesn’t give you the full picture of your health, studies have shown that simply measuring your weight on a regular basis you are more likely to make better health choices and achieve a healthier body weight. The McKinsey Maxim, named after the consultancy firm, is based on the premise that ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure’.
4. Accountability: They have someone to answer to
Even if you are a world-class athlete it pays to have someone in your corner. Enlist the help of a friend, join a sporting team or hire the help of a health professional. Have someone in your corner who has your best interests at heart. I might be a bit biased, but personal trainers have long been proven to be a very effective at helping people stay fit and healthy. I often hear from clients that ‘I probably wouldn’t have trained today unless we had this appointment’. Statistics show that out of all exercisers, ‘only 25% get the results they are looking for. Out of those people who do get results, 90% used a Personal Trainer (IHRSA 2002)’.