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How to Set Achievable New Year’s Resolutions

resolutionsAt the beginning of 2015, it was reported that only 8% of Americans are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolutions. When 38% of people set health and weight resolutions, perhaps another resolution should be to follow through. Learning how to set achievable New Year’s resolutions is the critical first step in helping you do what you say you’ll do.

In the 1960s, a man named David Gleicher developed an equation known as “the formula for change.” The formula was originally created in the context of organizational management and transformation, but it works just the same for personal behavior changes as well. According to the formula, three factors must be present in order for change to occur: dissatisfaction with how things are now; a vision of what is possible; and the first, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision. If the product of these factors is greater than resistance to change, then change will occur. If any one of the factors is missing from the equation, then change is less possible. Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > Resistance.

For instance, if your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, but the vision is missing because the change seems too overwhelming, then resistance will occur and change will not. However, if you set a more specific goal, such as losing 10 pounds, then your vision may become more clear as to how to lose those 10 pounds and change is more likely.

Setting a clear, concrete plan to achieve your resolution will help you meet your goals. Here are some easy tips to set actionable New Year’s resolutions and make change possible:

1. Set goals with the least resistance

What is it you actually want to do? Do you prefer a nutritional plan versus a fitness plan to help you lose weight? If you are committed to your resolution, it will be much easier for you to see change if you decide how you are most likely going to be committed (going to the gym vs. eating healthier vs. both).

2. The smaller the goals, the more achievable they are
Take small steps and break down the large, ambitious goals. If you want to be stronger, but also want to be able to do 100 pushups, write the list of steps required and assign due dates (e.g., 5 pushups by week one.). The small steps and deadlines will help you stay on track of the bigger goal of gaining your strength.

3. Hold yourself accountable

Share your goals with a friend or family member, or even just write them down. Once you vocalize how you want to change, it will become more than a fleeting thought. On the plus side, if you tell someone about your resolutions, they will be able to act as an accountability buddy – someone who can check in on your progress and help you along.

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2016? Share them on our Facebook page.