Why new year’s resolutions don’t work. And the simple hack that will fix it all.

So, you’ve made your New Year’s resolution list and damn it’s impressive. It could be the greatest list you’ve ever seen (so great you can’t stop admiring it). If you get through it, you’ll be unstoppable. This will be the best year EVER!

This is it. No more procrastinating or broken promises. You’re going to be laser-focused, more deliberate and let’s not forget – fitter! You’re going to smash the road runs and crunch those abs like never before.

Nothing and nobody is gonna stop you. You’re going to make 2023 your bitch!

But then it happens. The emails start. Then the phone calls… and the meetings. Initially, you’re ok. You’re handling it … it’s all good! The runs are still happening. The LIST is still on track. And then the fires that need fighting start. And they’re big.

A few months in and your wonderful list is a distant memory. Sound familiar?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most people’s resolutions go up in smoke before Jan closes out. In fact, if the stats are true, a mere 9 PERCENT of us actually take our initial commitments through to completion. For shame!

But hope is here – in the form of a really simple hack. So keep reading because if you get THIS right, you WILL take that list and carpe diem the heck out of it in 2023.

Step 1:

Get out your list. If you don’t have one, make one! Take a few minutes and jot down the things you’d like to conquer. These can be goals for the entire year or even a few months into the year. Pick between five and ten things that really matter to you and write ‘em down. We’re actually going to stick to them – BELIEVE!

Step 2:

Now scrutinise your list and look for an overarching theme. Is there a single golden thread that runs through everything? Trust me, it’s there. It might poor planning (e.g., you often run out of time in sales meetings). Or you’ve bulked up because you never plan to take lunch to work so you end up eating badly.

Step 3:

Once you’ve found the theme, choose ONE word from it that really stands out for you. Something that will help you recall your specific theme immediately. For example, PLAN.

Step 4:

Now make a sign with that word in caps and stick it where you will see it, like the fridge or under the toilet seat (be sure to laminate it first). Or make it your phone wallpaper. Somewhere you can’t miss it, so that it becomes a daily reminder of your all-important LIST.

Step 5:

If you do the above exercise, that one word should now be nudging you throughout the day to stay on track. As the day draws to a close, ask yourself: how did I make my LIST happen today? If your word was PLAN, ask yourself, ‘how well did I plan today?’. This will bring into focus the issues you’ve decided to tackle, based on your initial list.

Step 6:

Lastly, be sure to celebrate the small wins. Forming new habits takes time and no-one said change was easy. But the more you see that one word and the more you keep it top of mind – the better chance you’ll have of achieving your resolutions. So you can officially be part of the top 9%! WOO-HOO! 

And at year-end when you reflect back and start forming your NEW list of resolutions, just repeat the above process. NOW you’re unstoppable!

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About Garth Jemmett

Garth Jemmett is the founder of We Explain Stuff. He helps business leaders escape complexity by making strategies, processes, products and services easy to understand.

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