Three tips on how to make those New Year’s Resolutions stick

We just stepped into a new year, and you know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions.  If you’re reading this a bit later into January 2018, are you still on track; or have they already been thrown out the window?  According to New York Times best-selling author, Jon Acuff: only 8% of New Year’s Resolutions are fully realized, 92% don’t see the light of day. What a dismal statistic; but a dismal statistic that hits home, I’m sure.

Speaking of Jon Acuff, I’ve just attended a webinar of his, where the author and speaker himself went live (technical difficulties and all) and gave three tips on how to crush your goals for 2018. I would like to transfer some of these golden nuggets to this blog, as all of us, me definitely included, need all the help we can get.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s three tips on how to make those New Year’s Resolutions stick.

1. Gotta get the size right.

A huge reason why most goals are not accomplished is because you set them too, well, huge. You wanted to write a book; still in the drawing board. You wanted those six-pack abs; instead you ended up with A.B.S. (a big stomach). The list goes on and on.

Don’t over-dream, because that’s a planning fallacy that trips everyone up from the start. Instead, you dream the right size from the beginning. I’m not saying that you lower your standards or expectations. You simply break down your big goals into bite-sized chunks.

You wanna write a book? Make it a goal to write one chapter first. You want that ripped beach bod by summer? First, make it a goal to create a sustainable work-out routine and consistently maintain it for two weeks. You wanna learn how to cook like a chef? Start with mastering one recipe first.

A nice quote I found that basically sums up this principle in one sentence is this: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.“

2. Choose what you’re going to quit.

Jon said that Americans, when making goals, tend to only add, not subtract. I believe Filipinos tend to be the same way. One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing some ad or networking shtick where the claim is to eat whatever you want as much as you want, and then take this magic shake or pill and then BOOM — Greek god physique. Nope.

Chances are, you have stuff in your daily routine that you have to eliminate or manage in order to make those goals a reality. If your goal is to spend more time with your family, you’d better take a long hard look at what occupies your time and remove it. If you wanna go from dad bod to beach bod, you gotta give up some stuff to get it done. Learn to subtract, not just add.

If you simply add to your already overstuffed itinerary, you end up with shame (“I can’t do it all!”). But if you replace shame with strategy (“I know I can’t do it all…but what CAN I do?”) you’ll be much better off.

3. Make it fun if you want it done.

The premise is simple enough: if you don’t like to do it, you’re not going to keep it consistent. This is why many goals, especially dieting ones, fail. They’re not fun.

The key is to make it fun.

I remember a great example from a Focus on the Family radio segment. There was this dad who had the hardest time convincing his young son to drink milk. However, one night he came up with a genius plan. He called his son and placed two glasses of milk on the table, and he then challenged the little boy to a race to see who can finish first. Ready, set go!! Gulp-gulp-gulp. After narrowly losing to his father, the boy then said, “Let’s go 2 out of 3!“ What made the difference? Fun.

If it works for children, it should work for adults too. I know it’s easier said than done, though; especially if the goal is something you have to give up instead of something that you need to achieve. Nevertheless, you have figure out why you need to do what you’re going to do.

The late great Jim Rohn called it, “Knowing your ‘Why’” because if your “Why “ is firmly set, the “How“ gets much easier. Leadership guru extraordinaire John Maxwell calls it “The Law Of Buy-In,“ as once you wholeheartedly buy-in to the idea, your resolve to get it done strengthens considerably.

My understanding of Jon Acuff’s spin on this principle is to make that “Why“ enjoyable, even if by nature it isn’t (as he humorously said in his webinar, “Guys, let’s face it: kale is not fun.“). The way to do this is to use positive motivation: focusing on rewards rather than fear.

Using the example from the webinar, fear says, “If you don’t get in shape, you won’t be able to see your grandchildren grow up!“ Reward says, “If you get in shape, you can go skiing!“ Now, which one will get you more motivated towards that goal? I’m pretty sure it’s the one that’s fun.

There you go, dear readers and I hope you appreciated these three tips on how to make those New Year’s Resolutions stick. If you liked what you read, please do feel free to come back here often.

Also, I would strongly suggest you become more acquainted with Jon Acuff’s work (check out his website here). He’s a very popular speaker and best selling author of several books, which are:

Happy New Year everyone, and may this year be your best one yet!!

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