It is hard to believe that the first quarter of 2014 is over. Most likely, you spent some time at the end of last year and beginning of this year setting some goals or resolutions for 2014. But now you are back into your old routines, life is getting busy, and you are losing focus. According to research by University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, at the start of the 2014, about 62% of Americans made resolutions. However, only about 46% of them will keep the resolutions past the first 6 months.
At the core of any successful resolution is the formation of new habits. To set resolutions that stick long-term, you need to follow these four simple guidelines:
1) Have a strong, compelling reason to make a change
Understand why it really matters. Getting organized is one of the top ten resolutions made by Americans every year (in 2014 it is number two). It is no surprise. What people really want, are the benefits that an organized life can provide:
- More control
- Less stress
- More money
- More time
2) Get the tools you need
You need to understand how to do it. Want to get control of your inbox? You can learn a new system by reading a book, asking for advice, attending a class or observing how others do it.
3) Get support
The third, and often overlooked step is to have the right support system in place. Trying to stop procrastinating? Find an accountability partner who can help keep you on track. In his book, Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, Dr. Joseph R. Ferrari tells the story of a Harvard economics professor who paid his co-authors $500 when he did not deliver a promised paper or finished product by its due date. Having a financial consequence certainly helps curb procrastination, but you don’t have to go that far. Most times simply having someone follow-up with you on a promised task is enough to keep you on track.
4) Create “hooks”
One of the easiest ways to make a new habit stick is to “hook” it to an existing habit, creating a “habit hook.” For example, if you are trying to keep you desk clear of papers, you can “hook” the new habit of filing to the existing habit of shutting off your computer before you leave the office for the day.
By following these four simple steps, you will end 2014 with the 40% of people who achieve their goals without failing resolutions every year.