It’s a new year, and for my first YouTube video of 2022, I wanted to talk about something that’s on all our minds in January: Sticking to your new year’s resolutions. No matter what your goals are for yourself and your health, motivation is very important. The fact is that about 80 percent of people give up on their goals by mid-February. So I invited my friend Dean DeVries, a motivational coach, to talk with us about motivation and sticking with your goals.
January 1: The Magic Date
“Many people see January 1 as a clean slate,” said DeVries. “But the wonderful thing is that we can ascribe this same meaning to any date, whether it’s January 1, February 1, or June 1.”
I asked him why many people lose focus of their goals around the six-week mark or mid-February.
“There are several factors,” he said. “But I think the main one is that anything we do without intention will end up sucking the life out of us. January 1 is a time when people are really intentional with what they want to create in the new year. But that intention fades as we get busy with life, and it doesn’t always take until February. January 19 is actually called ‘Quitter’s Day,’ because on average it’s the day that people quit their new year’s resolutions.”
Then What Happens?
Next we talked about how and why people lose motivation after the first of the year when they make those important resolutions.
“I think the key is that we’re most likely to succeed at the things we’re talking and thinking about the most,” DeVries told me. “On the first of the year, when we set that goal, we talk and think about it a lot. But then as we get back into life, we start talking and thinking about the same things we did in the previous year, and that allows us to fall back into those old patterns. So I would say that if you want to stay on track with your goals, the key is to think and talk about your goal every day, not just on January 1.”
DeVries also referenced a Harvard business study. It found that people who had goals and wrote them down every day had ten times higher net worth a few decades later than those who had goals but didn’t write them down. He speculated that this is because the people who wrote down their goals were more likely to think about them each day.
Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions: Morning to Night Goal Setting
I’ve also read that writing down your goals both first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night is helpful for focusing your intention. I find it’s a great way to help me begin and end my day on the same track.
DeVries added that this is a good way to keep negative events from derailing your day – or your goals. “We’ve all had that experience where something bad happens to us and it kind of ruins our day. We may say we had a bad day but only one bad thing happened, and it’s just because of that energy that we’re holding onto, or the way we showed up because of that experience. This is why morning routines are the best success hack. The way you start your day gives you momentum. You on-ramp your energy for the day after journaling, meditation, whatever you do to focus on your goals at the start of the day. The determining factor of the life we create is how we choose to show up, and how we on-ramp at the beginning of the day is a big part of that.”
The Importance of Nightly Ritual in Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions
He went on to say that the end-of-night ritual is equally important because it happens right before we sleep, and that’s when we’re most in contact with our subconscious.
“The conscious mind is really the logic we apply to the world, but our subconscious mind controls all our behavior and how we show up in the world. The conscious mind then tries to make sense of that. I know I’ve set goals then fallen off the wagon, and it hit me later, why didn’t I do what I said I was going to? And it was because my subconscious mind wasn’t in alignment. And you can’t impact the subconscious mind when you’re busy and active. The way to do it is when you’re asleep, and the closest we can get to that is a nighttime ritual right before bed. If we’re connecting to our goals and visions before bed, it’s seeping into our subconscious mind which will ultimately create more alignment with what we consciously want in our lives.”
Of course, you can only reach your subconscious mind if you’re able to fall asleep, and many people struggle with this. To learn tips for better sleep, check out this blog.
Vision Vs. Goals
Now that we know the importance of thinking and talking about our goals and having rituals, it’s important to define the difference between a goal and a vision – and to have a clear idea of what both look like for you.
“The way that I look at it, goals are basically like numbers on a spreadsheet – how much money do I want to make, how many new relationships do I want to start, what do I want my weight or health to be, money in my bank account, etc. The vision is what you’re really after. It can’t fit on a spreadsheet but relates to what you’re here to do and the experience you want to create in your life to feel totally alive. That’s when we’re most tuned into our potential when we’re really feeling alive.”
To learn more about sticking to your goals, and the exercise DeVries recommends to his clients to help understand your vision, check out the entire podcast here.
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