It may be due to our dissatisfaction or our desire to be the best, most of us take good resolutions at New Year. But we are now in February and the statistics don’t lie.
On Valentine's day, 80% of good resolutions have been dropped. Strava, social media specialized in sport, is even more specific. Strava invented the “Abandon Day”, the day when more people have dropped their good resolution than people who are stick to them. In 2020, thanks to the data they collect, they define this day as of January 20th.
So, what about you. Are you still on track or did you quit already?
Here are the 4 main reasons why people drop their good resolutions:
- 1. Desire: The goal was not important enough. Actually, you didn’t really want to stop smoking
- 2. Specific: The objective was not specific enough either in term of timeline or in term of routine which was required to be set up
- 3. Difficulty: You didn’t anticipate the difficulty you would have to overcome
- 4. Lack of discipline
Let’s take a concrete example. According to many surveys and polls, “practice more sport” was the number one good resolution for 2020. What do you think was the probability that people meet this good resolution?
Instead of falling like most of the people in the trap of good resolutions never met, define instead SMART objectives.
Your goals will need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Specific: The clearer your objectives, the higher your chance to meet them.
Measurable: Meet an objective also means the possibility to identify it was met (KPIs)
Achievable: It’s irrelevant to target the sky if you can’t fly.
Relevant: Your goal needs to be congruent with your ecosystem. Let’s imagine that you celebrate your birthday in 2 weeks. Do you really want to set the objective to stop drinking alcohol now?
Time-bound: Define a target date helps to maintain energy and motivation and it also helps to tackle the Parkinson law.
Let’s come back to our good resolution to “practice more sport”. A smart objective could look like that:
- Specific: Go to the gym in the morning and join classes
- Measurable: 3 times a week for 1 hour
- Achievable: You have the money to pay for the membership fee and the time to go to the gym three times a week
- Relevant: You are an early bird, it should be ok
- Time-bound: For 6 months, every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 7 am to 8 am
Your objective becomes: During the next 6 months, I will go to the gym 3 times a week, every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 7 am to 8 am. I will join body pump on Monday, fitness on Wednesday and stretch/abs on Saturday.
In order to increase even further your chances of success, here are a few more recommendations:
- Accountability partner: The best way to keep discipline and stick to your plan is to find an accountability partner. It can be a sports buddy (you may run a semi-marathon together) or someone “accountable” to whom you will report your progress. The ultimate accountability is to publicly disclose your goal. Once you have written on your Facebook wall that you have quitted smoking, you will face pressure from your friends.
- Tracking: In order to visualize your progress, it’s good to set up a proper tracker in which you will track your daily progress and milestones. In our example, you will tick a box every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday to reflect that you have attended your sport session. In case you fail 1 time, and it will likely happen, it will be easier to get back on track since you will be able to visualize concretely all the efforts you already accomplished.
- The Penny in the Shoe. The accomplishment of some objectives is more complex and requires a high level of mindfulness. Even if you have clear goals, you will be hooked by your life, your phone, and your emails. In order to escape to all these distractions and go back to your objectives, I recommend that you use the penny in the shoe technique. This is a simple technique. Place a coin in any of your shoes. You will see, the result is 100% guaranteed. We never get used to the coin and whenever you will walk, you will feel the coin and thanks to this feeling, you will be reminded to focus on your objectives. This technique helped many of my clients to finish writing their book or to learn new time management skills for example.
We only take a good resolution on January 1st but you can set up SMART Goals any time. So don’t wait longer, take paper and a pen and it’s your turn to play.