It's been almost 50 days since the New Year has started. Have you kept up with your new year's goals? Do you even remember them?
Most likely not. Studies made with people who held New Year’s resolution showed that the average person keeps their goal for only one week. Only 8% make the goal actually something for the whole New Year. If you failed, you are not alone.
When asked, why they failed their goals so early, you see a lot of people respond with "willpower": "If I just had enough willpower, I would have succeeded." "I just need the right motivation and then I'll have discipline." "If I strengthen my willpower, I will do it." Just think about the moment you made up your goal. Probably in the night of december 31th. You probably had the most willpower in the whole year. You were motivated and promised yourself that you can do this. You had a great amount of willpower. Yet, you and 92% of your companions failed.
Willpower is not the answer. When things start getting uncomfortable or uneasy, nothing fades away as fast as you willpower to succeed.
I believe, I found the answer in an article, I recently read. They shared a story of a biking team's coach, who wanted the biking team to get better (just like any coach). In contrast to other coaches, however, he did plan to change the whole training schedule or completely reconstruct the planning system. Instead, he focused on small things to improve; the meals, the bike's quality, minor training points. Within month of this strategy, the team improved dramatically.
This story led people to formulate a system to achieve goals. It basically works the same way: finding small aspects to change, small problems that might influence the success only by 1%. But these 1% are important.
You can take the paper sheet I made for the technique or make one yourself on paper or the computer. It is really simple.
As the header you write your goal. As an example we will take the number one XX New Year’s resolution: working out more, let's say working out every day.
Then think back on your progress. Why didn't you work out? What held you back? What were the obstacles? Don't just write "no motivation" and be done with it but think about any small obstacle. Consider every aspect that influences your goal in the slightest.
For working out, the obstacles could be:
*feeling tired and demanding a break after school
*not knowing what to wear
*cold temperatures outside, not wanting to leave the house
*a boring training routine
*no time in the day
*no really good training gear
*being hungry after school
And so on. Take some 10 minutes to dive into your reasons for failure. Once you have collected an appropriate amount (about 10- 15) go on to the next step.
Find solution for the problems. That is, find a solution for every single small problem. See the obstacles separately and just focus on one at the time.
For our example, the obstacles could be:
*taking a 10 minute break after school, in which you just relax and don't use your computer/ smartphone
*putting together a training outfit and laying it out for the next day every evening
*working out a training routine in the house
*searching for varied trainings or picking a sport you enjoy and make this sport your workout
*restricting the workout to 30 minutes a day after school
*finding appropriate training gear, borrowing some if it is too expensive
*preparing a small calorie- dense meal in the morning, that you eat after school
As you can see, the solutions are very separated from each other. They do not formulate a compulsive training plan, but are individual, small ideas to come over the obstacles.
So, what comes next is putting the written ideas into practice. For something like working out it will likely include a training plan or some kind of system outline. When you come across a problem, you have the list to help you solving it. If you come across a problem, that is not included in the list yet, add it together with a solution.
I have tried out this strategy for two weeks now and it has helped me a lot. Basically, it cuts out any excuses you may have with a proper solution.
If you want to give it a try, feel free to use the paper sheet, I made and tell me your results.