Setting Yourself Up For Sticking To Your Resolutions

by Gunjan Jain, Author & Investment Banker

How many resolutions have you set for this year? Were these roughly the same as the ones you picked last year, and the year before?

 

On an average, everyone starts January wanting to lose weight, work out, save money and travel more. And, again on an average, less than 8% of us stick to our resolutions, according to a range of polls. The reason, quite simply, is because we set ourselves up to fail, rather than setting ourselves up to succeed. This is true of resolutions, and of goals, both personal and professional.

The truth is that we all lead busy, complex lives in a world that demands our time, energy and attention in a million ways. We are under pressure from so many aspects of our lives, and stress is no longer a variable but a constant. That said, life is as manageable or complicated as we make it, and over the years, I have learnt that the more you simplify, the better it is. We cannot be everything to everyone always, and while we can achieve everything we set out to, we cannot do it all at once. I am not suggesting at all that you give up on goals and dreams and stay home, eating ice-cream and watching Netflix in your pajamas. Not in the least. I have some big goals to hit this year, and I am sure you do, too. Here is my plan for getting things done, and I hope you find it useful.

Start by choosing how you want to feel this year, and not just what you want to do. I learnt this from Danielle LaPorte, and her book The Desire Map. Her theory is that we set goals to feel a certain way, and if we recognise what we want to feel, we can experience those emotions in many ways, not just one. So begin with listing three or five top emotions for this year, and go from there.

Break the year down into quarters, and mark out what the seasons of your own life are. For example, if you have kids in school, the summer will be family time so you shouldn't plan on working on goals that will need your undivided attention. Or you might want to mark out December as a quiet month work-wise so you can spend time with loved ones as the year comes to an end. Be realistic and then push the limits.

Choose to work towards one goal at a time, and create systems around it. If you want to start writing more this year, I would highly recommend setting a word count every week. Can you write 3500 words a week, which averages about 500 words a day? Do this for three months and then scale it up. Download an app that allows you to write on your phone or tablet. Subscribe to some newsletters that send you writer's prompts. Maybe ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable.

Be prepared to let things go. We are evolving beings, and our interests shift. Don't hold on to a goal or resolution when it stops feeling right for you. It's okay to let go. More often than not, you are your harshest judge and critic. No-one else really cares. So tune in to yourself and go with the flow.

If life gets in the way and forces you to go off your path, just take a deep breath and reset whenever the opportunity presents itself. We tend to feel like a speed-bump is an insurmountable peak and it's really not. You can start over anytime. You can change the rules because you write them. Falling off course is normal and all you need to do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again. Over, and over, until you get where you need to go.

Leave space for magic. The universe has a bigger plan for us than we will ever know, so while you work towards your goal, be open to possibilities.

Gunjan Jain is a bestselling author, investment banker and a student of life, Gunjan is multi-passionate and committed to making a difference through her work.  She is the author of She Walks, She Leads (Penguin Random House). With her books, philanthropy and entrepreneurship, she uses words and ideas as catalysts of change.