Something like one third of all people make a new year resolution. Losing weight, getting fitter and eating more healthily are the most popular. Alas, 66% of people are reported to broken it within a month. But in an interview in Forbes with behaviour change psychologist Paul Marciano, he claims "achieving your goals isn’t about willpower. It’s about developing the right skills, executing strategies, and having the patience that inevitably lead to success."
As we enter the new year then with a view to self improvement, what can we do to improve our every day. One article caught my eye titled "Successful people share 11 ways to make 2017 your most productive year yet" (read it here) though I have to say, nothing on the list amongst the contributing experts particularly thrills me. So it made me think, what would my tip be?
My answer is simple: if you plan to do more of something, at the same time, plan what you are going to do less of. Too many people try to cram one more thing into a day, a day that's already busy. Accordingly, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at which point something gives and that is most likely to be your new year resolution.
If you want to eat more healthily, you might have to spend more time in the kitchen, if you want to take more exercise, it might be more time in the gym or going for a walk. But there is and will only ever be 24 hours in the day so in order to do this, you have to stop doing something else, so if you've planned what you intend to do less of, undertaking your new year resolution becomes a lot easier. What can you give up? Something like watching one less hour of television is a great way to carve out that time, or video games, or anything like that.
So reading Paul Marciano's Forbes article titled '7 secrets of people who keep their new year resolutions,' (read it here) it was interesting to see that secret number 5 was "Schedule It" where Paul says:
Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar. If you have a fitness goal schedule recurring time blocks for your daily workouts. Want to declutter? Schedule time to clean out your closet or garage on your calendar. Treat these New Year Resolution’s appointments just like they were scheduled doctor appointments.
Absolutely, yes, but unless you give up something, you are still trying to fit it in around everything else you do already and that can make even scheduling it as hard to commit to as the resolution itself. So help yourself do it by taking something unproductive you currently do and choose to do less of it. By choosing to give up something, you will be psychologically prepared to allocate that time to your resolution, setting yourself up to succeed without ever feeling overwhelmed by additional commitments.
So good luck with it! And Happy New Year.