Four Tips for Finishing What You Start

Many of us made New Year’s resolutions this weekend, and if you’re like me you’re already struggling to put willpower behind those resolves.

Some 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8 percent are able to follow through on them. Twenty-five percent fail the first week! Less than half survive for six months.

Whether you’re resolving to lose weight, save money, or develop a positive attitude, I want to help you become one of the 8 percent of achievers who lives out your resolution all year long.

Here are four secrets for finishing what you started on January 1.

  1. Think Habit, not Action

That may seem like a small distinction, but it’s not. Any action you take is one more item done. You went to the gym on Saturday. Great. That counts for one action of which you need 364 more. Will you have time on Monday? What about next week?

A habit, however, is a pattern in your life. Habits are things we all do in predictable ways at predictable times. And every habit is triggered by an action. You get up, brush your teeth, come home from work and have dinner.

Build your resolve into a habit by keying it to a time of day, a place, and a “trigger” event. You get up, go to the gym, have breakfast and record your calories. Actions fade, habits last.

  1. Tell On Yourself

Accountability is a huge motivator, and you can build it into your resolution. First, tell someone what you are planning to achieve, and be specific. “I want to lose 30 pounds. I’m going to read the whole Bible. I plan to walk 10,000 steps per day.”

Tell on yourself or ask a friend or family member to check up on you. Report how you’re doing every week. If nobody else knows your resolve, there’s little risk in failing. Telling on yourself ups the ante on your discipline.

  1. Enlist a Partner

An accountability partner is good, but a real life partner is even better. If you go to the library alone to study, nobody knows if you show up or not. If you’re meeting a friend, you have an added incentive to stick with the program.

  1. Reward Yourself

One year is a long time to wait for the payoff of your resolve. Find intermediate milestones and set a reward for each one. If you read the Bible 30 days in a row, treat yourself to dinner out. If you ride your bike every day for a week, you’ve earned an evening of watching your favorite programs.

Learn to celebrate your milestones, and you’ll be more likely to keep on trucking.

How do you motivate yourself to make changes in your life? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter!



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