How to Make Resolutions Work

How many of your New Year’s (or anytime of the year) resolutions actually came to life?

I know, I know, not a lot or only for a few days or weeks. Whether it’s done on the New Year, on a Monday, or day 1 of the month. It is always keeping up that’s difficult. The desire to get better or simply to change – a 2.0 or an “upgraded” version so to speak. However, no matter when you do it, or how many resolutions you put forth, sustainability is key.

Here are key tips on how to make resolutions work:

Purpose, Urgency or Tipping Point

Let’s start with your why. Why are you resolving to make these changes or to improve? This serves as your anchor. Without which, it is going to be too easy to deviate or to get wayward. Something that will keep you on track to your resolution. For some a purpose or anchor would be enough.

For others, it has to be paired with an urgent need or a tipping point. An urgent need could be a medical requirement, when the doctor gives you an ultimatum. “You have to lose 10kgs in 6 months,” as in weight management or a healthier eating habit. Does that sound familiar? Or a condition set forth by your boss as a condition for your promotion. As in learning new skills or changing leadership styles. A tipping point could just be a simple comment from someone. But is a critical point that’s needed to influence change. Too often, I see a list of resolutions, but there’s no purpose attached to them, the “why” or the resolution.

Whether you need urgency and/or tipping point or not, it is important to clearly lay down your purpose. Your why in committing to resolve to change in thinking or behavior.

Personality and Strengths

Whatever your resolution is, you have to make sure you approach it through the lens of our own personality. What might work for one, might not work for another. For example, my husband can say, “I will jog everyday for at least an hour and start eating healthy meals.” Now, he has high discipline in his Gallup Clifton Strengths profile. This along with his other talents that allow him to easily start and continuously execute. It will be easy for him to do and sustain. If my approach was the same (as I tried), I would (actually did) miserably fail.

My Gallup Clifton Strengths profile suggests I am keen on changes (as opposed to routine). Also, I have a rebel tendency. Please check here to find out more on four tendencies. Going back, so my approach will need to be different from my husband’s. We can arrive at the same result but through different paths.

The same with you, see, we cannot just copy what they say, hook, line and sinker. We have to customize based on our own selves.

In fact, in whatever pursuit, you get your maximum potential when you always base it on your strengths and personality. Such as what we have noted in this article on landing my client’s dream job – COACHEE’S DREAM JOB THROUGH STRENGTHS.

Expectations vs. Reality and Your Glide Path

And last but not the least is setting our own expectations. Expectation on when we will see the changes that we want in our lives. Let’s face it, New Years, Mondays or any first for that matter holds magic within them. And somehow, we seem to rub off this magical feeling or anticipation to realization of our resolutions. For example, weight loss, which is one of the most popular resolutions throughout the year. We usually think that we will see changes within the first few days to first weeks. It does not work that way, though.

Sustainability is very important. The problem though, is that when we do not see these changes when we, unrealistically, expected them, we give up. We forget about our resolutions and say we’ll try again next time. But next time rolls by and we do it the exact same way and fail at exact the same reasons. It is important to create a glide path, with expectations per given time period. For example, if you expect to lose 10 kgs, you might want to peg to lose the first kg when it is realistic. Let’s say, 1 month, 2 kgs by the 2nd month and so on.

This also depends on a lot of things, including diet, level of activity and speed of metabolism. And how you work on what’s controllable. For example, while speed of metabolism might not be readily controllable, your type of diet and level activity are certainly within your purview of control. Hence, you can make intentional changes to them to influence your resolution.

In summary, make sure you have your purpose clearly laid out. Along with need for urgency or tipping point if any. Then, whatever you do always factor in your strengths and personality. And be mindful of your expectations and create a realistic glide path along with intentional actions that will influence your resolution.

There you go, happy new year again. May all your resolutions work this year and always!