How to actually stick to your 2019 new year’s resolutions
Here we are at the end of another year- how crazy is that! We are back at the same chapter of our life story, being asked about what changes we are going to make in 2019, what our new year resolutions are and how we are going to become new and improved versions of ourselves in 2019.
Anyone feel like each new year is a deja vue of the last?
Change is hard. You've probably noticed that.
We all want to become better people — stronger and healthier, more creative and more skilled, a better friend or family member. What a better way to start the new year with all these intentions!
But even if we get really inspired and start doing things better, it's tough to actually stick to new behaviours. It's more likely that this time next year you'll be doing the same thing, having kept your new year’s resolution for a good couple of weeks before falling back into your old ways.
Why is that? And is there anything you can do to make change easier?
At the root of all your behaviours is your identity
The key to building lasting positive behaviours and sticking to your new year’s resolutions is focusing on creating a new identity first.
Your current behaviours are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously).
To change your behaviour for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. You need to build identity-based behaviours. This is what you need to focus on when creating your 2019 resolutions!
The interior of behaviour change and building better behaviours is your identity. Each action you perform is driven by the fundamental belief that it is possible.
So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it's easier to change your behaviours.
The reason why it's so hard to stick to new behaviours is that we often try to achieve a performance- or appearance-based goal without changing our identity. Most of the time we try to achieve results before proving to ourselves that we have the identity of the type of person we want to become. It should be the other way around.
The new year’s resolution recipe for sustained success in 2019
Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps.
1. Decide the type of person you want to be.
2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.
Here are examples of how you can make this work in real life.
KEY- it is so important to start with incredibly small steps. The goal is not to achieve results at first, the goal is to become the type of person who can achieve those things.
Start small and trust that the results will come as you develop a new identity.
Want to lose weight?
Identity: Become the type of person who moves more every day.
Small win: Buy a pedometer. Walk 50 steps when you get home from work. Tomorrow, walk 100 steps. The day after that, 150 steps. If you do this 5 days per week and add 50 steps each day, then by the end of the year, you’ll be walking over 10,000 steps per day.
Want to be a better friend?
Identity: Become the type of person who always stays in touch.
Small win: Call one friend every Saturday. If you repeat the same people every 3 months, you’ll stay close with 12 old friends throughout the year.
Want to be taken seriously at work?
Identity: become the type of person who is always on time.
Small win: Schedule meetings with an additional 15–minute gap between them so that you can go from meeting to meeting and always show up early.
Before deciding on your new year’s resolution first ask yourself what is your identity?
In my experience, when you want to become better at something, proving your identity to yourself is far more important than getting amazing results. This is especially true at first.
You can't rely solely on being motivated. You have to become the type of person you want to be, and that starts with proving your new identity to yourself.
Most people (myself included) will want to become better this year. Many of us, however, will set performance- and appearance-based goals in hopes that they will drive us to do things differently.
If you're looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve. Build identity-based behaviours now. The results can come later.