If you're like the majority of us out there you may have not yet settled on your New Year's Resolution. But don't worry, it’s never too late to get started or rethink your goals entirely. So many people set resolutions in January only to have forgotten or decided to already stop them by February.
Learn a new skill. Limit your screen time. Take the time to stop & think. So what is your New Year’s resolution? For 2023, the Forbes Health/OnePoll survey found some resolutions to be more common than others.
Interestingly, the survey highlighted a couple of standout themes: Many people - particularly young people - are prioritizing their mental health over their physical health. Specifically, the survey found that overall, 20% of people say improving mental health is a top priority in 2023, while 16% say improved physical health is more important to them.
So how effective are New Year's Resolutions?
According to the New Plate/Ipsos survey, 55% of respondents kept their New Year’s resolution for less than a year, with 11% lasting at least six months, 14% lasting at least three months, 19% lasting at least one month and just 11% lasting less than a month.
But if you think that these dismal statistics give you all the justification you need to pass on the resolution tradition, think again. Research suggests that action-oriented goals are more likely to result in achieving your New Year’s Resolution.
A Whole Brain® Strategy to New Year’s Resolutions
A great strategy for thinking through what you truly want to accomplish this year and how to go about achieving your goals is to conduct a Whole Brain® Walk Around. The process of “walking around” the four quadrants of the Whole Brain® Model will force you to consider the full picture of where you are, where you want to go, and what it’s really going to take to get there.
This is not only a great reality check, but also it is a good way to expose and eliminate your blind spots and also create action-oriented tasks as part of your resolution that will help you stay on track and achieve your goal. When you put your whole brain on the task, you are less likely to miss key opportunities to achieve your milestones.
The Whole Brain® Resolutions Walk Around will help you:
Define and create realistic goals. If you get stuck when listing goals, imagine that someone is going to write a newsletter about you on your target date. What headlines would you like to read in that newsletter? Read some actual newspapers or magazines to spur your thinking, or go online to some of your favorite websites. You might also talk to friends and family members and ask them for ideas.
Set priorities and plan to get ready for the year. Now how will you reach your goals? After creating your list, you’ll see that some of your goals are more important than others. Underline the “deal breakers”—those that you absolutely want to get done. Focus on achievements that will really give you a sense of accomplishment. Write a target date for these goals, and create milestones for each one.
Hold yourself accountable. Share your resolution with others, you may find that others have a similar or the same resolution. Find a “resolution buddy” to keep you on track. Share your accomplishments and wins with others.
Realize the benefits. Imagine you have achieved your goal. How do you feel? What does this accomplishment mean to you? What is the benefit that you will receive once you have accomplished your goal? How will your life improve?
Having trouble envisioning your end goal? Below are some key reminders when you are setting your New Year’s Resolution. What you’ll gain is a vision for your life that is both clear and flexible.
New Year’s Resolution Key Reminders:
Stay flexible. There’s no right or wrong way to create your vision. If you’re not happy with a vision you create, then back to the drawing board and start over again.
Timeframe for milestones. You might want to create a milestone for the next month, quarter, or six months from now. Choose whatever works for you.
Dream freely. Brainstorm a list of goals that you’d like to accomplish this year. Don’t censor your thinking. Give yourself permission to write anything—even goals you’ve never dared to speak out loud.
The brain doesn’t always distinguish between imagined events and actual events. By using the Whole Brain® Walk Around, you are wiring neural circuits in a way that builds a pathway to your vision.
In addition, this walk around reminds us about the difference between certainty and clarity. Certainty locks you into a single path to achieving a goal—a path that might actually take you farther away from your desired results. In contrast, clarity means creating a vision of your future and then staying flexible. As long as you’re clear about the “end game,” you can choose from multiple paths to getting there.
This distinction is key to managing your mental processes. In a world that’s volatile, uncertain, and complex, the quest for fixed road maps to the future can become a handicap. Be willing to release certainty. Go for clarity instead.