Resilient people are good at follow through. However, according to a University of Scranton study, only 8% of us follow through on our New Year’s resolutions. Follow through, like any essential skill, can be cultivated. Whether your resolution is to get organized, get healthy, or find a new career; lasting change involves examining your interfering mindsets, identifying emotional triggers and creating new routines. Here are four simple lists to help you get started:
- The Success List: New Year’s resolutions have a way of making us think of all the broken resolutions of past years. The fact that so many of us fail to keep them, lowers our expectation of achievement. So instead of focusing on failures, start with a list of past successes big and small. Write down at least five things you resolved to do and accomplished.
- The Fear List: Most people can name the plus side of their resolution. Try making a list of five negative aspects of the change you are trying to make. This list represents your fears. Whether they are real or perceived, fears have a way of triggering our old patterns. To be successful you need to develop a way to tackle your fears. If they are reality based, what is the plan for mitigating the risk? If the fear is perception based, what coping strategies can you use to lower anxiety?
- The Value List: Now make a list of five positive aspects of not following your resolution. This list represents your values or what is most important to you and might be preventing you from making a change. To be successful you need to incorporate this into your change plan. For example, if you list enjoying morning coffee with your spouse as a positive aspect of not exercising then it is important to make time together part of the new routine.
- The Task List: Most lasting resolutions involve forming a new habit or creating a different routine. This takes time. Try making a list of small tasks or milestones that you need to accomplish for long term success. Examples might be cleaning a desk drawer, exercising for five minutes straight, or updating your resume. As you complete a task or milestone, cross it off the list. When the motivation of the New Year fades, use the list to remind you of what you already have accomplished and to keep you on track.
Remember, a resolution worth making is a resolution worth keeping. A little preparation can go a long way towards successful change and a year of accomplishment. Good luck!