5 Questions to Hack Your Resolution
Every year millions of Americans make a New Years Resolution - A giant goal to change something in their lives that has been holding them back.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 45% of Americans set New Years Resolutions and here are the top 10 from 2015:
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy life to the Fullest
Stay Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend more Time with Family
How many people succeed in their resolution? 8%
If you google New Year’s Resolution roughly half of the results are articles that include phrases like, “How to set them”, “resolutions that stick”, “common broken resolutions”, “willpower”, and “the science behind failed resolutions”. Can you tell that there is a lot of doubt and problems surrounding these phrases? There is a flaw in the way we Resolute.
The resolutions from 2015 are all big beautiful goals. But the problem is they are BIG, and they are BEAUTIFUL. Meaning they are large and vague. When you stand back and look at a Van Gogh Painting it is gorgeous and amazing. But if you get up close it gets harder to even see what the picture is, and instead you see small strokes, or even points and dots.
When we set our New Years resolution we always stand back and visualize the beautiful picture. And then we try to build it all at once. What we need to do is to just focus on those dots and brush strokes and let the picture develop on its own.
According to Mirriam Webster one definition of a Resolution is: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones. Just like pointillism - the small dots that make up some paintings.
The 51% is pointillism. It is breaking things down into small dots, that continue for distinct periods of time for change.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when setting your resolution.
#1 Ask What?
Take an assessment. Journal or brainstorm a whole list of resolutions and decide what really feels right. Think out of the box. Remember that changing one thing can change the way you look at everything.
Journal for 5 minutes on how 2016 felt and what made it feel that way. You may be surprised at what you see.
#2 Ask Why?
When we set a resolution we may be focused on the wrong thing.
Lose weight. Why? To feel better about myself. Why? Because I have no energy. Why? Because I’m always tired. Why? Because I don’t get enough sleep.
Now looking at this should your resolution be weight loss? Or should it be getting more sleep? According to Women’s Health Magazine, “an analysis by researchers at Columbia University found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are heavier, gain more weight over time, and have a harder time losing weight!”
The underlying problem could help even more than your original goal.
#3 Ask How Long?
When we set a new years resolution we assume its for a year. A permanent change. This is way too big! We need to make things small. No wonder only 8% of people succeed. How are you possibly going to know what will happen in 6 months, or if you resolution needs to be the same. Maybe sleep is important this month, but next month your relationship is more important than sleep. You shouldn’t feel guilty because you need to change your priorities. Situations change so don’t set yourself up to fail.
In an article by Elite Daily they quote a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology, “Lally analyzed the results and found the average time it took for the participants to pick up a new habit was 66 days.”
Set a realistic time period to devote to said revolution. 66 days, roughly 2 months, may be both realistic and effective.
#4 Ask What are the Specifics?
What specifically will you do to achieve your goal and when will you fit it in to your schedule?
Find a time, write it down and keep track.
When will this resolution take place? If it is extra sleep- Will you go to bed earlier? Sleep in 10 minutes later? How many days a week?
If it is improve your relationship, what does that mean? Love notes, date nights, using I statements, or talking about your feelings?
Make it small and specific.
#5 Ask Is it 51%?
Finally, are you doing it at least half the time? Is it small enough to make it happen, and big enough to make change?
If your resolution is to spend more time with family and your goal is to do family dinner every weeknight, then set that to at least 51%. 2-3 nights a week have a quality family dinner. 5 nights a week leaves no room for soccer practice, working late, or not making it to the grocery store.
Ask yourselves these questions and make it small, and you could have the best year possible.
Happy New Year!
Make it Small,