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Sarah E. Brown 2019

  • Sarah E. Brown

5 Steps to Creating New Year’s Resolutions that Work.


It’s that time of year when we start thinking about what we will do differently in the new year. We often code these thoughts into “Resolutions.” Research shows that most resolutions go by the wayside just a few weeks into January. But it does not have to be that way.

Here are some proven success principles you can use to guide the crafting of your New Years Resolutions for 2020:

1. Make your resolution specific. Goals need to be specific in time and space. That means: how much by when. A resolution that you will lose weight is not specific enough. “I will lose 10 pounds by April 1, 2020,” is much better. The end goal is quantified and the exact time is specified.

2. Believe in that goal through the power of affirmations and visualization. You need to start believing this is possible, and the best way to do this is to visualize the end result and create the affirmations that support that. So get a picture of what you look like on April 1 with 10 fewer pounds on your frame. What are you wearing? How do you feel? See it, feel it. And stay in that image until you really feel it. Now create the affirmation that goes with that goal, all stated in the present tense: “I am so happy and grateful now that I am at my target weight of 130 pounds.” Doing this practice also shifts your focus from the negative (eg lose 10 pounds to the positive which is to achieve your ideal weight.)

3. Write your goal down. Research shows that the chances of goal attainment increases by 17% just by writing the goals down. What if you write the goal down in the form of an affirmation that you review every day. That increases the chances of goal achievement even more.

4. Commit to changing the underlying habits. Your resolution will most likely involve or require the creation of a habit. Let’s suppose you want to get to an ideal weight goal within 3 months. Is it reasonable to expect that will happen with your current eating “habits”? Not likely. I will probably have to eliminate the nightly ice cream and eat more vegetables. So decide what those small habits are that you will practice and then practice them for 30 days, roughly the time it takes to form a new habit. So let’s say for my goal of reaching my ideal weight goal, I will commit to eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day for the next 30 days and one of the fruit servings will be for dessert (when I would have had ice cream). Make the habit changes small enough to be doable. But practice every day for 30 days.

5. Get an accountability partner and do 5 things every day toward your goal. One of the best ways to stay on track is to get an accountability partner and report to that partner every day what you have done to achieve your goal. It is a good idea to include on that list habit changes that support your goal attainment AND mental habits in the form of visualization and affirmations. It only takes 5 minutes to report to your partner whether you did your five things or not. Here is a sample of 5 things I could commit to doing today to reach my goal:

1. Read my affirmation to myself first thing in the morning.

2. Look in the mirror and visualize myself at my ideal weight on April 1.

3. Eat 4 servings of vegetables today.

4. Have fruit for dessert.

5. Spend 5 minutes at the end of the day reviewing in my mind what I ate and how I can take different actions tomorrow.

See, that did not take long. And if you think about it, the action items are not tough either. You are well on your way to achieving your goal and making 2020 the best year ever.