By Christian Wasinger
Every year, approximately 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. A staggering 25 percent don’t make it past the first week, and only about 8 percent stay on course and achieve their resolutions.
One of the reasons New Year’s resolutions go awry for so many of us is because, after years of failing to succeed, our subconscious mind has learned to associate negative feelings with New Year’s resolutions, such as disappointment, failure, and anger.
Unless you change your approach in 2015, history will repeat itself. Here are 10 steps to shift the outcome and make the road to achieving your New Year’s resolutions both smooth and swift.
1. Give your New Year’s resolutions a name change.
Words generate feelings. Some cause us to feel happy, others sad, and some leave us in a neutral state. For those who have not succeeded in the past, the words “New Year’s resolutions” may awaken negative feelings. Consider replacing the words “New Year’s resolutions” with “future accomplishments,” or any other label that leaves you feeling more positive.
2. State your goals as positives.
When setting your goals state them as positives. If I ask you not to think of an apple, your mind will immediately think of an apple and all your associations with them. Rather than stating “I no longer want to be broke,” say “I manage my money well, and pay all my bills on time.” Being in a positive mental and emotional state, you are far more likely to achieve your goals.
3. Be specific.
Many people fail because their resolutions are too broad and not specific enough. If you want a taxi driver to drop you off at a specific destination you must be clear, otherwise you won’t get there. The same goes for your goals. So long as you have a clear destination, you will eventually get there, even if there are detours and obstacles along the way.
4. Make your goals measurable and give them a deadline.
Your goals and the progress you make must be measurable, so you know whether or not you are getting closer to reaching them. Have a deadline, because goals without a deadline are only dreams.
5. Be realistic, be flexible, and break down your big goals into smaller goals.
Is it realistic to expect yourself to go to the gym every single day in 2015 if you haven’t exercised once in 2014? Perhaps commit to exercising three times a week. If you miss a day, don’t give up. Make up for it with an extra workout the next week.
If losing 100 pounds in 2015 feels overwhelming, focus on losing 2 pounds a week. You still end up with the same result, but the goal feels more manageable.
6. Keep your goals in front of you daily.
Place your goals where you will be reminded of them daily. Place a sticky note on the dashboard of your car, or put up a vision board in your office. Read them after waking up and before you go to sleep. Falling asleep with the visuals and feelings of having achieved your goals programs your subconscious mind to accomplish them.
7. Take action and have faith.
Setting “future accomplishments,” and affirming them daily won’t “attract” them magically into your life. The last six letters in the word attraction spell “action.” To achieve them, you must map out a plan, and focus on one step at a time. When driving to L.A. from San Diego, you must first get to Carlsbad, then Irvine, and so on northward before reaching L.A. Take that very first step, and have faith that the next step will be revealed.
8. Keep at it, even if you don’t succeed at first.
There really is no failure. It may have taken you multiple attempts, but you achieved every past goal that was important to you, because you persevered. Those you did not attain either were not important enough to you, or were no longer important because your situation or desires changed.
When it appears you are experiencing failure, change and adjust some aspect of your approach. Everything will work out in the end. If it hasn’t yet, then it’s not the end.
9. Be accountable.
Have an accountability partner, or use smartphone apps and computer programs to help you stay on track. We are less likely to let others down than ourselves. Share your goal only with people who are supportive of you.
10. Are you getting closer to your goal?
Always ask yourself whether what you are doing is getting you closer or further away from accomplishing your goal. Don’t waste time, money, or energy on anything that is not getting you closer to your final destination.
Finally, be patient with yourself and be realistic. Start by implementing one of the above steps at a time, until you have reached your goals.
—Christian Wasinger, CHt, is a bestselling author, neuro-linguistic programming trainer and clinical hypnotherapist with an office in Mission Valley. To learn more about him, visit www.theNLPexpert.com.