Welcome to 2018! While you can set a goal any day of the year, many of us use New Year's to start over. From working out, to writing books, to making new friends, January is an ambitious time of year.
Unfortunately, only about 8% of people keep their New Year's resolutions. What starts as an exciting dream quickly turns into a forgotten inconvenience.
If you have big goals for 2018 and truly want to see improvements, then consider implementing these strategies to actually achieve something in 2018.
1. Know Your “Why”
As humans, we value having purpose and meaning. In fact, a recent study by Google found that the most successful teams are the teams that believe what they're doing actually matters.
The same goes for your New Year's resolutions. Sure, losing weight is an admirable goal – but why do you want to lose weight? Is it to attract a spouse, keep up with the grandkids, have the energy needed for your dream vacation across Europe?
Losing weight is boring! But being able to beat someone in basketball or have someone take a second glance at you as you walk down the street can be exhilarating. And looking good on the beach can be a far greater motivator than just losing weight.
If you want improve your chances of succeeding with this year's goals – know your why.
2. Gamify Your Goals
Doing something you don't enjoy is called work (which is why you have to get paid for it). Meanwhile, games are something you're play for free (or even pay for) because their fun!
Why not make your New Year's resolutions fun by gamifying them? Especially if you have a competitive edge, this will make it far easier and more enjoyable to accomplish your goals.
There are many ways to gamify your goals, depending on what they are.
For losing weight, why not place a bet on yourself using HealthyWage. If you reach your goal you make money (but of course, you lose money if you fail).
If you want to save money, consider using a bingo chart. If your goal is to meet more people, join an active community that does something you already enjoy.
By finding a way to turn your resolution into a game, not only will you be more likely to accomplish it, but you'll have more fun in the process.
3. Automate as Much as Possible
Making decisions takes a lot of mental energy. The more decisions you have to make in a day, the harder it will be to make the right decisions.
Therefore, automate as much as possible! The less thinking you have to do to achieve your goals, the easier they will be to achieve.
Other times your focus should be on creating routines that can turn into habits. For example, plan to take the steps instead of the elevator whenever possible. Decide to do 20 pushups whenever TV commercials start. Call a friend to say hi every Friday after work.
By building your goals into your regular routines, they'll become second nature – making them more likely to succeed.
4. Reward Yourself for Wins
As we've discussed above, psychology plays a big role in whether or not you achieve your goals. Another great way to “trick” your brain is to reward yourself for wins. This will create a positive association with the task, because of the reward you receive for accomplishing it.
The key here is to find small rewards that won't impede your long term success. For example, you shouldn't reward a week of dieting with a trip to your favorite all-you-can-eat buffet.
Find something simple that will make your daily activities rewarding, and then establish bigger rewards for when specific milestones are met.
5. Find a Supportive Community
Pursuing goals with others is far easier than doing it on your own. And fortunately, there are many ways to create a support group around your biggest resolutions.
If you have a friend or family member interested in the same goal, then become accountability partners and plan to chat every day, week, or month about your progress – pushing each other to do your best.
If you don't know anyone who would be encouraging, then consider finding a forum, Facebook group, or Reddit sub, with people who are trying to accomplish the same goals. There's a group for almost everything!
Additionally, you can search Meetup for local groups. And, if you really want to succeed, you can hire a coach.
6. Start a Blog
If you really want to hold yourself accountable, consider starting a blog that discusses your goals. With the entire world able to follow your progress, you'll be very motivated to follow through.
And, if you don't make the blog all about yourself – but share lessons/tips that you learn along the way, you can even make money from your site! I've met dozens of bloggers who started writing about paying off student loans or losing weight – only to become full-time bloggers writing about a topic they're passionate about.
7. Schedule a Monthly Reset
My final strategy for keeping your New Year's resolutions is to create a calendar item on your phone for the 1st of every month: February-December.
When this alert goes off, take a moment to evaluate your progress and, if necessary, start over.
Too many resolutions go unfinished because, once we miss a few days in a row, we throw out the goal until next year. This is a huge mistake!
Treat every month like a new start, and you'll be sure to end this year more successful than you started it.
Do you set New Year's resolutions? If yes, what do you plan to achieve this year, and how will you ensure that you make it happen?