Have you given up on your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

According to an interesting study performed by the University of Scranton and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 64% of surveyed New Year’s resolution-makers kept their commitments for even a month. After six months that percent drops 46%. For those of us over 50, the statistics are pathetic – just 14% of us keep our resolutions for the year. If you are a sprightly twenty-something, the chances that you will keep your resolutions are a whopping 39%. So why is this? Why do we all give up so easily? Two reasons 1) It is often challenging to go it alone, and 2) Change is difficult. This week we will touch briefly on the lonely mindset of self-discipline.

The truth is that nobody can make us change – only we can make that decision. We can choose to stop smoking or eating sweets, or to make the necessary calls to develop new business. These decisions will not happen simply because someone tells us to do something. We are free to make our own decisions. However, we are not free from the consequences of our decisions. If we continue to eat sweets – there are no immediate ramifications. However, this behavior, left unchecked for a protracted period, will certainly result in weight gain and will ultimately have an impact on our overall health. We make choices for the short term but can suffer greatly in the long run.

Here are a couple of obvious strategies that will help you go the distance to achieve your goals.

Chew the Elephant One Bite at a Time. Break your goals into more manageable, measurable mini-goals.
Measure your progress. Keep track of your progress with a chart, diary or other method. This will demonstrate your success and drive you to even greater self-discipline.
Treat yourself. Practice positive reinforcement by giving yourself small (non-conflicting) rewards for each mini-goal achieved.
Really? Make your goals realistic. We often over estimate what we can accomplish in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in five years. It is the small achievements over a longer period of time that will create dramatic results in our business or in the mirror.
There will be setbacks. Just plan on it. New habits usually take time to form. There is no reason to expect oneself to go from poor business habits to excellent ones without complications. Understand that it will happen and get back to your discipline immediately.
Buddy-Up A very successful approach to success is to publicize your goals so you create cheerleaders while tremendously increasing the cost of failure. If you team up with a friend or business partner with a similar or joint goal, you are likely to drive each other to achievement.

This final piece is extremely powerful. Recently, there was a newly launched app called LifeKraze. The app crowd-sources in order to provide a personal cheering section for keeping (and achieving) personal or professional goals. Call it a coach, mentor, buddy or accountability partner – the truth is that the statistics tell us that we all need one.

This week – tell those you most value what your goals are for 2013 – better yet – take them on the ride with you!

Be your best everyday!

Coach Kirby

Monday Minute – New Year’s Resolutions Gone Bad – Part two.

Last week we began our investigation into the causes of “resolution implosion”. In a Clinical study from the University of Scranton it was found that, depending on the age group, the maintenance of resolutions varied from a low of 14% to a high of 39%. Meaning that, at best, 61% of goal-makers could not maintain their resolve for just one year. This week let’s touch on the second part of this challenge – the difficulty of change.

There is an algebraic expression for change called Gleicher’s Formula. It says:

D x V x F > R

D= dissatisfaction, V=Vision, F= First steps and R= Resistance

Meaning that the product of your dissatisfaction about where you are right now, times your vision of what you could be accomplishing, times the cost and effort of first steps must be greater than the power of your resistance. So to ensure a successful adherence to our resolutions, (change) we must 1) look at your competition and see what is possible and probable with others in your same situation or industry, 2) build out our vision and become emotionally moved by what is possible, 3) identify those crucial, early steps towards making that now built-out vision a reality.

Unfortunately, once you have set your vision – reality gets in the way. Goals are free but the path to them is not. Soon, vision will become clouded by the obstacles that invariably appear. This is where most people become despondent. However the lesson from all the research is that more than anything else, the ability to pick oneself up after faltering is precisely what is required for success in most areas of life.

Set your goals and never let go this year! You might just love where you end up!

Have a tremendous week!

Coach Kirby