A 2019 study including 800,000 participants by Strava shows that most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by January 19. In fact, the results are so dramatic that Strava calls January 19 “Quitter’s Day”. What makes the difference between the quitters and the winners? Drawing from my own experience, I’ll share a couple tips below.
First, I think you have to have a “Big Why” behind the goal. As an example, I set out in 2021 to “Lose 25 pounds” prior to my daughter’s May 16 wedding—that’s a big why! As I envisioned the photo shoots and shaking hands with people I hadn’t seen in years, I made a hard commitment to shed those pounds. What do you do if you don’t have a big wedding or other significant event? Well, frankly, it’s going to be tougher. But we do see significantly more success when someone manufactures a big event. Perhaps you’ll make your deadline an out-of-town work event or a family vacation next summer.
Second, using technology to track your progress can make a huge difference. For example, one of my 2021 goals was to read through the Bible in one year. I used the YouVersion Bible app to create a reading plan, present the daily material, and track my progress. Additionally, I used ToDoist to set a daily reminder that prompted me at 4:30 every weekday morning to get this daily task completed. Within about six weeks, daily reading had become a habit. For the aforementioned weight-loss goal, I used Lose It! to track my daily food intake and calories burned through exercise. My Apple Watch tracked my workouts. Renpho tracks the lag measure—weight lost using an app and an inexpensive scale that has proven to be quite reliable.
Time blocking has been an indispensable tool for me in 2021. One big change has been recording my 2021 goals right into my Google Calendar in my first block of the day—see below:
A mindset principle that I love says, “If it’s not on your schedule, it doesn’t exist.” As you can see above, my day starts consistently at 4:30—I wake up, make coffee, read my daily reading, pray and get ready to head to the gym. Rather than “winging it” every day, I made a commitment to put this into my calendar and it has made a huge difference in my results.
One final thought related to my weight-loss goal for 2021. I have found a huge benefit in being part of a community that is sharing my journey. As you may have noticed on my calendar, I engage in a number of group fitness activities throughout the week—Cycling, H.I.I.T. classes, etc. I have found that my consistency in making it to the gym has increased as I have a little added peer pressure.
So what’s your 2022 New Year’s resolution? Can you view it in relation to your Big Why? Can you use technology to help you get a better result? Will you time block your activities? And can you find a tribe of people who will share your journey with you?