OPINION: Did you make any New Year resolutions this year? If you did, statistics would say that you are likely to already have failed at it.
That’s not very glass-half-full, is it? But did you know that only eight per cent of people are successful in achieving their New Year resolutions?
The number one reason most resolutions fail is the same reason most behavioural changes fail; because they rely on willpower and self-discipline, which science has demonstrated always run out.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor shares that the way to sustain a new habit, which is all mastery of anything is, is to reduce the activation energy, the physical and emotional energy needed to overcome inaction.
Compare these scenarios for two people who create New Year resolutions to get fit.
The first person decides to get fit and on January 1 they make a list of what they need to do: get workout clothes, learn about diet, buy food, learn about fitness, create a training plan, book in to the physio to sort their sore back. And on January 2 they rationalise that they are OK and don’t start, because the task seems too large, the energy investment is just too much.
The second person decides to get fit and on January 1 they ask their fit friend who their trainer is, then contact them and ask them to create an entire plan. On January 2, they start working out with the trainer. They make the task seem easy.
One person chunked the task down to too many parts, so they were overwhelmed and never started, the other chunked it up to one task and took action.
So, my question for you this year: is this going to be the one, or is it going to be the next one?
The next one is the one where you try things out, where you dabble. It’s not the end-goal, but it keeps you busy.
On the other hand, if this is the one, then the outcome is not to get it done, the outcome is to achieve your goal.
If this is the one, then in the end if you haven’t achieved your ultimate outcome then it isn’t the end.
Chunk it up, reduce the activation energy, and make sure 2017 is going to be a year to celebrate.
Sam Hazledine is the Ernst & Young Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Sir Peter Blake Leader, founder of MedRecruit, and author of Unfair Fight, for more check out www.samhazledine.com