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How to Make New Year's Resolutions that Stick: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself.

Are you planning on making New Year’s resolutions? Around 37% of Americans typically say they make New Year’s resolutions. This year, Forbes reported that fitness is the most common goal, with improving mental health and finances being the second and third most common resolutions. If you are looking to change jobs or start a business, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before making a New Year’s Resolution.

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Why is this resolution important? 

The first question you should ask yourself is why this resolution is important.  In Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why, he explains how tapping into your why can help you find the motivation to do difficult things. Around 8% of people typically give up on their New Year’s resolutions within the first month of making them. Being grounded on why making a change is important can help you keep your resolution. I recently worked with a retail business owner looking to establish better boundaries with his employees. We discussed how establishing better boundaries would help him improve his relationships at home and give him more time to do things he enjoyed. He could push past discomfort and set better workplace boundaries by grounding himself in the anticipated benefits.


Who will support you in making this change?

The second question you should ask yourself is who will support you in making this change. In Professor Kay Milkman’s book How to Change, she talks about how important it is to have the right people around you when you are trying to change. One of the first questions I ask business owners looking to improve their business is who around them challenges them to evolve and grow. The people we interact with influence our expectations, thinking, and actions. When you spend time with peers, mentors, advisors, consultants, or coaches who can provide insight, guidance, role modeling, and support, you increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.

How will you position yourself for success? 

The third question you should ask yourself is how will you position yourself for success? In management consultant Jim Collins’ book Great by Choice, he tells of the importance of pacing yourself. He shares the wisdom of moderating effort to ensure that you can make consistent progress towards your goal. For example, last year, I worked with a consultant looking to increase their business through social media marketing. They were putting so much pressure on themselves to post every day that they hated to think about social media and would hardly ever post. We redefined the definition of good. Instead of setting the standard of good as posting 7 days a week, we aligned that posting at least once a week for a month would be good. By establishing a more realistic goal, he was able to reduce the stress related to social media posting. Eventually, he was able to work up to posting 3 to 4 times a week.  


Committing to resolutions can be challenging.  Applied Neuroscience Psychologist Dr. Hela Boschi states that our brains are wired to love routines and avoid uncertainty. Whenever you try to establish a new habit or make a life transition, you fight against learned behaviors, emotional triggers, and inertia. To overcome this, it is essential to start small, be grounded in why change is important, and seek out help from others. So, make your resolution, but also take the time to develop a plan and seek the support you need to achieve your resolution goal.

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