“To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.”
– William James
Is today the day? New Year’s is that time of the year when many folks insist upon making lofty, unreasonable promises to themselves and to others about how they intend to change their lives for the better. Often this includes a desire to make monumental changes to their health and wellbeing. But warmer weather has arrived and maybe those resolution’s are not in action yet! The sad truth is New Year’s resolutions are almost always destined to fail. According to a 2007 study done by Professor Richard Wiseman, A British psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, 88% of individuals fail achieve their resolutions. 88%! That’s pretty much everyone!
The problem is not goal setting either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. One of the factors involved in the astonishingly high failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is that they involve so many vague, poorly thought-out goals. The resolutions people make tend to lack legitimate planning outside of a desire or need to change. For example, two incredibly common one’s are losing weight and quitting smoking. Both demand
a plan of attack, research and guidance. That is, they are worthy goals that can be accomplished, but not by wishful thinking alone.
Wiseman insists that the success of resolutions is contingent upon detailed planning. That is, don’t just say you want get in better shape, plan ahead and be specific. For example, promise yourself that you will workout five times a week instead of your usual three and that you’ll manage your sweet tooth better. Schedule it in. Make adjustments. Use a planner if you must.
Two other factors that dramatically increase the success of any goal, not just New Year’s resolutions, are persistence and a positive attitude. Of course, persistence requires patience. A positive attitude can often be tricky in the thick of a stressful day or week, but focusing on the benefits that stand to be gained rather than how difficult the task is helps. In other words, Wiseman insists that we should focus on the proverbial carrot not the stick.
Resolutions and goals are a necessary part of growth for all of us. It requires, even demands shifts in our mindset and behaviors. Most importantly though, it’s not necessary to wait around for a holiday to grow, change and transform. Whether it’s today or tomorrow or even months from now, do it! The power do to so is within you. I know it is. That said, Happy Spring!
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