How to succeed with resolutions

new years resolutions by making ernst
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

How to achieve success.

According to statistics at the beginning of March only 8% of us that came up with a brilliant New Year’s resolution actually succeeded. Congratulations and more power to the 8%. But why is it so freaking difficult for the rest of us?

We want it all. And we want it NOW!

Our brains are all pumped up and excited when the magical date January 01 approaches. We have great plans. We are going to lose this muffin top by the end of March. We are going to re-organize the whole house to finally make room for the car in the garage. We will investigate where all our money goes and then save more for fun things. We will ask for an extension of the gym membership coupon on the fridge. We will adopt a German Shepard to get our butts off the couch and live an overall healthier live style (whatever that means?).

Hm, damn. I run out of paper. Where should I continue with my resolutions???

Stop right here. First thing we have to be is realistic and stop setting yourselves up for failure. This is not a competition. This is our life. Commit to one goal at a time. The more bullet points and goals you have on your list, the more likely you will be overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start. In the end, the list will slide from the front of the fridge door to the floor and the German Shepard will eat it. The list goes, the resolutions go and you have to take the dog to the vet. And there goes your fun money.

A long list sets us up for procrastination, which is deadly for success and happiness.

You’ve picked your priority. It is probably an extreme difficult task at hand and your brain is already working hard in collecting arguments why you shouldn’t even try. If the goal on hand is not really important to you, than your brain will win this battle easily. Commit to your goal. Is it really something YOU want or is it something someone else wants you to do? If it’s the later then don’t waste your time and energy.

Commit to your goal 100%. Do you really, really want this?

Next step to success is to get your friends and family excited too. The more you talk about your goal and the more people know about your goal, the prouder and more motivated you will get. There is nothing more depressing than coming up with excuses why we didn’t follow through, kind of “The dog ate my list”-excuse. Surrounding yourself with motivated and energized people will help you to stay on track.

When you seek support, you will get it.

Let’s face it. Changing habits is not easy and the conditions never will be right. Don’t let your brain convince you that you better wait until spring, because it’s nicer to run outside. I promise you there will be rain in the spring, too. If you need tools like a blender, shoes or an alarm clock to get started, then get the tools. No procrastination. No excuses. You want this, right? Get your shit together.

Don’t wait for the right conditions. They will never come. Just do it now.

Write your resolution on a piece of paper and place it where you can read it everyday. We are busy and things slip our minds if we do not write them down. The note acts as a trigger. Maybe you want to appreciate more of the small stuff, then put a note on your bathroom mirror saying: “Look out the window and name 10 small amazing wonders of the universe.” Set a reminder in your smartphone or paper calendar, ask your kids to question you every morning or advice your assistant to remind you not to forget this “very important thing you want to do right after lunch”.

Remind yourself of your goal. Keep it visible.

Ok. Now you could need a bit of “The Eye of the Tiger” background music. Plan baby steps. I am sure as a toddler we were all excited about balancing on our feet for one minute. After that it was walking one step while holding on to the coffee table. Crossing the distance between the couch and the coffee table was like discovering a new continent. Break your big goal into smaller goals, be specific. If you’d like to be healthier, find one thing that needs some improvement. Maybe you want to cut down on sugar and it happens that you drink a lot of soda pop. Research alternatives and replace one drink a day. The week after you might want to replace two soda pops. If you want to eat more greens, pick a meal, where it is realistic to have more veggies. You want to practice deep breathing every day, then pick a time and place where you commit to 3 minutes every day (after waking up, on the bus, before going to bed). Next week you increase the practice to 2 x 3 min or 1 x 6 minutes. And so on.

Small consistent steps are better than large actions.

Oh and this last step we all like. You don’t have to admit it. It’s all right. We all thrive if someone acknowledges your achievements. Remember the stars, stickers and kind notes your teachers placed on our piece of homework when it was well done? Remember how proud you felt when your boss pointed out in front of the whole staff how great this presentation is that you created? Satisfaction motivates us. This little sticker was all we needed to try a little harder the next time. Measure your achievements. How often did you eat more veggies? You had what? Kohlrabi? Is this produce allowed by border control? If you can measure your achievements you can measure success.

Give yourself stars and celebrate even the smallest improvements. This is how to achieve success.

How to succeed with resolutions by
Tanja Knapp
About the Author
Tanja Knapp

Tanja Knapp is an Explorer, Adventurer and Happiness Hunter currently camping in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Her roots are in Germany where she grew up on a remote farm. A colony of abnormal cells in her cervix taught her the lesson that would change her life forever. Life doesn't get better by chance, it get better by change. She truly believes in creating happiness & health through constant adapting, growing and evolving. Her super power is curiosity. With her blog she likes to inspire others to explore uncharted territory.

If she is not busy writing, running, swimming or cycling, she is expanding her knowledge, exploring the World, and taking on new challenges.

She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and graduated with an Honors diploma in Holistic Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2013. She obtained a Hospitality certification in 1998 and a Marketing Communications diploma in 2004. She has worked both in Europe and North America.

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