So many of us (42% of Americans) make New Year’s resolutions each year. We’re hopeful, and we’re sincere. The New Year gives each of us the promise of a fresh start. We want to eat healthy or lose weight (21.4%), we want to improve our life (12.3%), or improve our finances (8.5%) or quit smoking (7.1%). But in this survey of over 1,500 people done on 1/1/2017, more than 90% said they had never succeeded with their resolutions in past years.
Even so, people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to succeed than those who don’t. So, the question is how do we change our approach so that this year we can finally accomplish our goal?
5 Keys to Achieving Any Goal
As Dr. Evian Gordon explains in The Brain Revolution, change is hard for all of us because ANY change is perceived by our brain as a threat to our safety and “safety first” is the brain’s core driver. Any change to the status quo brings fear of failure on a nonconscious level. We can override this with a conscious choice to implement the change. If we choose the change, accept the change, and believe it will be tied to a future reward, our brain will start to see the change as beneficial if we repeatedly acknowledge it to ourselves.
One Day at a Time
First, we need to understand that any goal is achieved over the long term. Setting a goal too high or too far away in time can cause us to self-sabotage and fail. It is a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to go into it pacing ourselves. So often, we become disappointed when we don’t see big results immediately. We get frustrated, other things distract us, obstacles appear, and we quit. Once we know that this is a common pattern for lots of people (and possibly for us in the past), we can build in some milestones to keep us enthused along the way.
That way, if you need to lose 50 pounds, you can celebrate each pound lost. If you need to work out but don’t want to, start with 10 minutes a day. In both cases, as you start to feel better, that feeling will encourage you to stay on the path.
When it comes to writing, there are many ways to avoid the big blank page. You could warm up to your writing session by having a list of topics that interest you. Pull an idea out and write about it for 10 minutes or 500 words. If you are at a point in your manuscript where you feel stuck, look over your outline and find a topic that appeals to you and start writing about that. Once you’re warmed up, go on to the writing you need to do. Continue reading “Better Writing: Make 2018 Yours! Here’s How”