Why wait until New Year’s to change?
by Delilah Helton —
What does the new year mean to you? Is it a time to reflect on the past year or is it a time to look forward to new beginnings and self-change? For millions of us, the first day of the year is a time to make New Year’s resolutions. It is a time to make promises, self-improvement goals and personal pledges to make a change for the better.
Setting self-improvement goals to better oneself is a wonderful intention. However, waiting until New Year’s Day to make a change hardly ever works. A 2007 study involving 3,000 people, done by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol, showed that 88 percent of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail, even though most of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.
Why do these resolutions fail? First, instead of focusing on one change at a time, most people write a giant list of changes they want to make. A typical list looks more like a holiday wish list than personal goals. For example: This year, I resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, look great, be nice, go to bed early, learn a hobby, play an instrument, save money, stay organized, learn a language, travel more, work more, sleep more, etc.
The second reason why New Year’s resolutions fail is because the goals are often too general and do not include behavioral changes that are important for success. For example, a resolution such as “I want to lose all my baby weight this year” is too general and does not address the important question of “How am I going to lose the weight and what do I have to change about my behavior to lose weight?”
The most important reason why most resolutions fail is because they are only a form of procrastination — putting off what has to be done today until New Year’s. For those of us who have made a list of self-improvement resolutions and goals, ask yourself: Why am I waiting until New Year’s to do this? What is keeping me from starting right now?
If someone is unwilling to make the necessary changes right now, then what are the chances that anything will really change after New Year’s?
Why wait to make a change? The opportunity for new beginnings and self-change can happen anytime. Why not take advantage of every second in the year to become all you can be? Why not start now? Setting self-improvement goals and making life changes start with one simple question: What is the one thing I am willing change right now?
Next, set a goal that is specific and supported by behavioral changes that can lead to success in accomplishing the goal. For example, “I will lose 10 pounds in the next six weeks by eating more vegetables, reducing my sugar intake and working out 30 minutes a day” is a better goal than “I will lose all the baby weight this year.”
The next step in goal setting is believing that success is possible. Seeing, believing, imagining and visualizing oneself accomplishing the goal is a crucial factor for success.
Finally, the most important step in reaching any self-improvement or personal goal is to stick to it. It takes 30 days for any new behavior to become a habit. This is why some goal setters look to the support of a family member, friend, mentor or personal coach to see their goals through. Others begin to explore themselves via guided imagery, meditation or hypnotherapy to remove any emotional blocks that may be keeping them from doing what they need to do to achieve their goals.
Now is the time to make the most out of the life we have been given and become all that we desire to be. Do not wait to make a change for a better life. Any day, any hour and any minute can become an opportunity for a new beginning and a fresh start. A new year can begin any time you want, so resolve to make a fresh start right now.
Delilah Helton is a certified hypnotherapist, life coach, aromatherapist and has received extensive training in transpersonal wellness. envisionthenow.com or email@example.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 6, December 2014/January 2015.