Ah, a new year, a fresh start. Well, start yes. Follow through, not so much. Statistics show that of the people who make New Year’s resolutions, about 65% abandon them after just one month. What’s even more remarkable is that the resolutions made have amazing consistency across groups of people and over time.
Here are five of the 2014 top ten New Year’s resolutions:
- Lose Weight.
- Getting Organized.
- Spend Less,
- Save More.
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest.
- Staying Fit and Healthy.
See what I mean about consistency? And if you look at the other five, you’ll find no surprises there either.
I don’t know about you, but I always find myself amused and amazed by this annual ritual. Why do so many people follow the same cycle of resolution, attempt, and failure? [Tweet this] And why do they tend to do this repeatedly, despite all the advice that’s available.
New Year’s Resolutions: Just Another Bad Habit
Now, I’m no expert, but having recently finished Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, I have a new insight. It seems to me that the whole resolution dance is itself a habit. A bad one. [Tweet this] It starts with a cue (New Year’s) that prompts a routine (set new goals) and ends in a reward (false sense of action).
Fortunately, you can change the habits that keep holding you back. And if you don’t have time to read Duhigg’s excellent book, he has posted a helpful book excerpt on the process at his site. It’s a great place to start.
Specific Is Better
Perhaps the biggest problem with resolutions, and even with the goals people typically set, is their lack of specificity. So, how to change that? I’ll bet you already know. SMART objectives. Because these are focused on time,action, and results, they allow for ongoing evaluation of progress and refinement of actions.