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A new year has just begun. It's the time of year when a lot of people make New Year resolutions, because it seems like a good idea. You know: Fresh start, and all that ... Fair enough. We all need that from time to time.
The thing is, by mid-February most of us have already fallen off the wagon. We can't keep it up. It got too overwhelming. Too complicated. Too ambitious. Too ...... whatever. Fill in the blank.
The stats about New Year resolutions and managing to create lasting change from them, are actually rather grim. A study by the Journal of Clinical Pshychology showed that 54 % of people fail to keep it up past six months. And do you know what? Most people even make the same resolutions 10 times without success! Ten times! That's rather sad, don't you think?
Why does this happen, over and over again?
I think there are at least 2 reasons for that:
# 1) We are stuck in habits that we've had for so long that they've become second nature to us, and changing them simply isn't done over night or even in a few weeks. Changing habits actually takes at least 90 days if you want to make them stick, according to scientific research.
# 2) We make the New Year resolutions only in our mind, and that's where we keep them. We don't share them with anyone, because we're afraid we might fail, and that would make us look bad. And then of course that's exactly what we do. Fail, I mean.
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So screw those New Year resolutions, and try something else this year! Are you with me? Good! Let's dive right in and look at ....
3 SIMPLE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD
What I'm going to suggest here doesn't have to be difficult at all. The strategies are actually quite simple, but very few people use them, and therefor very few people get the results that they want. But if you follow the strategies that I'm going to give you, you'll probably be one of the people who do get the results that you want this year and who will succeed in creating a lasting positive change in your life.
Here are the strategies:
# 1 ) Write your goals down
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Did you know that you're 42 % more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? That's what dr. Gail Matthews, professor of Pshychology at the Dominican University of California, discovered when she did a study on goal setting.
The reason why I mention dr. Matthew's study is that you may otherwise think that I've only made this strategy up in my mind, and since you don't know me, why should you listen to me? Because it almost seems too easy, right? And it is easy! Yet hardly anybody does this! I think that's rather sad.
So write down your goals. It does seem pretty basic, but I can assure you: Most things in life aren't necessarily hard to do. We just have a tendency to make them a lot more complicated than they need to be, because we think that's the way it's supposed to be! So we don't do them!
Maybe you've been taught this when you were younger, that "life is hard", and this belief got rooted in you and made you struggle a lot more than necessary. But you can change that. In other words: It's a choice you can make from this day forward. Tell yourself that life is easy! And then write down your goals, and believe that you'll actually achieve them.
When you write down your goals, don't just do it once and then leave it in your notebook or wherever you write them. I actually suggest that you write down your goals every day. Several times! Even if you don't think it will work. Heck, especially then! Because this isn't some kind of supersticion or whoo-whoo thing. It's about focus. Setting goals and writing them down every day will help you really focus on them. That's what makes it more likely that you'll succeed this time.
For example: If one of your goals is to be a successful writer, you could write down "I'm a successful writer" in your notebook, every single day, preferably several times. To make it even more powerful, you could also read it out loud to yourself, and put some emotion behind it.
I suggest you get yourself a pretty notebook (either buy one or make one) and a good pen, which will make it even more enjoyable for you to do this. And when something feels enjoyable, you'll want to keep doing it. Right?
Now let's move on to the next strategy.
# 2) Make a schedule for when, where and how you'll take action
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Scheduling time for focusing on your goals on a regular basis, and preferably daily, can be the one thing that will guarantee your success.
This has also been subject to research. A study on goal setting and motivation made by social pshychologist dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, showed that deciding in advance where and when you're going to take specific actions to reach your goals, can double or even triple your chances for success. Those are pretty good stats, don't you think?
So make it part of your "me time" every single day. Find a nice place where you can be undisturbed and really focus on what you want. And set a fixed day and time when you'll do it.
Let's say you've decided that one of your big goals for this year is that you're going to start living "the French way", because you love evertyhing French and you think that's a lifestyle that will be good for you, but you don't know how to get started. So your first goal should probably be to find out as much about that lifestyle as possible, and then your second goal could be to start implementing what you learn on a daily basis.
This is something that can feel less tangible than many other goals, so scheduling this will be really valuable. Writing down you goals, and then actually making time for them in your calendar and sticking to them, n'importe quoi (aka "no matter what!") - will make it so much more likely for you to reach your goals.
Let's say your goal #1 is "Learning about the French lifestyle".
Schedule a time in your calendar for when you'll actually do this. It could be once a day, twice a week ... early in the morning ... at 5 in the afternoon ... whatever you think will work for you. But remember: Don't set yourself up for failure! Make it doable. Ten minutes a day (or even per week) is easier to do than one hour. In other words: Short time periods ensures that you'll follow through and that you'll be able to celebrate wins instead of feeling disappointed in yourself on a regular basis. But I repeat: make sure you schedule a day and a time.
For example, if we break it down to smaller action steps, it could look like this: If you've decided to follow my blog about the French Lifestyle and want to make sure you get my weekly updates, a wise thing to do would be to schedule a time in your calendar every Monday, since that's when I'm publishing new blog posts. This would be your when, and also part of your how. You could also decide that your how would be to read my blog, sign up for my newsletter, join my tribe ... In other words: Take actions that would actually help you learn as much about the French lifestyle as possible and at the same time even help you with your goal # 2: Start implementing what you learn on a daily basis. I would also advise you to follow other blogs on the topic, but it would be wise to focus on just a few to begin with, to avoid overwhelm. Simplicity is always the best strategy!
Then write down where you'll take action. Will it be in your own home? Will it be in a special room? Will you need access to the Internet?
This was just an example, of course.
Depending on your specific goals, where you'll take action could be anywhere from your home to a gym, the seaside, a coffee-shop, a youth-club ... as long as it's a place where you're likely to actually take the action that you need to take in order to reach your goal(s).
Another thing I suggest that you do, is to also make a plan for what you'll do if something happens that could make it difficult for you to stick to your schedule. In other words: A sort of contingency plan, which means that you plan for problems that can occur, or setbacks that you know are likely to happen and that can throw you off track. The better you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed.
Now let's look at the last strategy, which is:
# 3) Tell someone / get an accountability partner
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This one is really powerful! Again, studies have been made on this, and this is what they've found: You actually have a 65 % chance of reaching your goals if you commit to someone. So give updates on your actions to a friend or someone else that you trust and find supportive! And guess what: The same study established that you if you actually have an accountability appointment with that person on a regular basis, say once every fortnight or every month (or every week, which I'd strongly suggest!), - this can increase your chances of success by up to 95 %! Isn't that fantastic!??
And you don't have to make this complicated. You could just make an agreement with your friend that you'll send each other a text message or email (or whatever), say every Friday at a certain time, just to report status quo. It doesn't have to be long, just a few words. That's it. No big deal! But when you think of the stats, - that your chances for success will increase by a whooping 95 % ...! Well, I'd say those few words once a week are worth it, - won't you?
Last, but not least, I will strongly advise that you also - when setting your goals for this year - write down WHY you want to set those goals. This will make your reasons for taking action and following through, even stronger.
Recap of the strategies, and today's Call To Action:
#1) Write down your goals for this year (and WHY you make them)
#2) Schedule when, where and how you'll take action
#3) Tell someone / get an accountability partner
If your goal for this year is to learn more about the French lifestyle and start implementing it in your life on a daily basis, I strongly suggest that you include following my blog in your strategy #2, because I’m on a mission to share everything I know about the French Lifestyle with you and make sure we both live with as much joie de vivre as humanly possible!
We’ll study and go deep into all aspects of «the French way of living», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise! I’m looking forward to getting to know you, and help you on your way to achieving your goals!
If you're new to my blog and if the French Lifestyle is what interests you, here's a list of some of my previous blog posts:
Why I Swear By The French Lifestyle
12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat
8 Reasons Why The French Don't Diet, And Why You Don't Have To, Either
And if you'd like to make sure you don't miss any of my posts about the French Lifestyle in the future, sign up for my Newsletter!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and even share this with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
À bientôt! (aka "See You Soon!")