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THE INC. LIFE

10 Essential Guidelines To Consider Before Creating New Years Resolutions

Set yourself up for success this time

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BY Laura Garnett - 03 Dec 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

With 2019 right around the corner, you're probably thinking really hard about what resolutions you'd like to make in the New Year. Maybe you want to lose weight or start a meditation practice. Or maybe you're finally going to step up at work and start crushing your career goals. Whatever your aspirations for 2019 might be, the truth is that most of us won't accomplish even half of what we started. In fact, only 9.2% of us actually achieve our resolutions and change habits.

So before you commit to a new year, new you, consider the 10 guidelines below. They'll help get you into the right thought process so you can achieve your goals with less resistance.

1. Behavior change is hard, so go small.

Start with 1 or 2 goals max. When you try and do too many things at once you get overwhelmed and will fall right back into your old habits.

2. Most new years resolutions fail, here's why.

According to a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, both enjoyment and significance are key in whether we stick to resolutions. So if we see immediate results we're more likely to stick with the habit. Another study published in the Journal of Nature and Science suggests the problem is our internal struggle between doing what we want to do and doing what we should do. If you can stop overthinking how tiring that run will be, for example, you'll have a better chance of going through with it.

3. When thinking of making a big change, create a detailed plan that incorporates the key new behavior habits you need to adopt.

It's one thing to make the commitment, but it's another thing to understand the new lifestyle and behavioral traits you'll need to incorporate to accomplish that goal. Write a list of everything you think you'll need...from patience to going to bed earlier.

4. Make sure that you create accountability.

By asking a friend, hiring a coach or setting up a reward system, you'll have someone rooting for you and reminding you to re-evaluate where you are with your goals.

5. Make sure your goals are realistic and not unreasonable given your life circumstances.

It's really easy to say you want to run a marathon, but if you have a demanding job, family obligations and two dogs, chances are a marathon is not realistic. Take a moment to think about your lifestyle. Maybe a 5K is more reasonable, or a run in the park every Saturday morning.

6. Make sure you will have fun with the process of creating your new goals.

If the goal is not going to excite you or challenge you in the right ways, it's not worth pursuing.

7. Get clear on the purpose of these new goals.

Why are they important? Make sure that you re-visit this purpose along the way.

8. Give yourself at least 3 months to execute on the new goals.

It takes on average 66 days to form a new habit and that is an average. You need at least 3 months of doing something different every day before you can begin to create new neuropathways in your brain that will make it automatic.

9. Create a celebration plan once you've accomplished your goal.

It's important to celebrate success. Then you can confidently create another goal to focus on after that one is done.

10. Read books about habit building or watch inspiring videos about people that are doing extraordinary things to inspire you along the way.

Check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, The Genius Habit, and High-Performance Habits by Brendan Bruchard to get you started.

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