New Years Resolutions. As a marketer, this time of year is called New Year, New You. It’s a time of year where you see ads for gym memberships, weight loss programs and low-fat foods and dietary supplements take center stage. Marketers take full advantage of this time period when people have good intentions and are willing to pull out the pocket book in hopes of reaching their goals. It’s also why you’ll see an uptick in subscription savings because they know if you’re more willing to sign up for a long term commitment at the beginning of the year but are less likely to stick with it later on.
Some of the most common resolutions are around physical health like eating better, exercising more or quitting smoking. Others are around self-improvement like mindfulness, meditation, volunteering or learning a new skill. Notice an increase in Master Class ads? Yeah, not a coincidence. Don’t all of those sound great? And honestly, if we could be more successful at these, wouldn’t we be in such a better place as a society?
As consumers, we have a love/hate relationship with resolutions. We love to make them, but we have trouble keeping them. After only one week, 25% of us have already broken our resolutions. After six months, only 46% of people are still keeping their resolution. And only 9% of Americans who make resolutions feel they are successful in keeping them.
The top causes of failure are setting unrealistic goals, not keeping track of progress, forgetting the resolutions or making too many of them! I have to say I’m totally into the resolution thing. Hell, I started this podcast which is a lot about creating positive change, not just at the top of the year but all the time. I would consider myself almost addicted to goals. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s kind of true. I always have some goal I’m working on. Maybe I’m training for a marathon. Or I’m doing a dry January or eating Whole30. Or like when I took twelve weeks of ballet class because my resolution was to learn something new.
But I have to say, I have a pretty good success rate too. I totally believe in the power of keeping resolutions simple and realistic. I think a big part of the reason we fail at keeping our resolutions is because we hold ourselves accountable to unrealistic expectations. Resolutions, like any change in life we make, is less about the final outcome and more about the journey and small wins along the way.
If you are currently eating fast food at least once a week and your cupboard is filled with pre-packaged meals, what do you expect the success rate of switching to an all organic, keto diet is? Or what if you’ve been smoking for 15 years – you think once January 1st hits you’ll just put down that pack and never touch another cigarette again? Or if you’ve never ran more than a mile, you think running a Marathon should be your first step?
Don’t get me wrong, these are all great goals! And they are all achievable, with time. Cutting down the goal into smaller achievements is much more achievable and sustainable. Like maybe instead of switching to keto right off the bat, you just cut out fast food at first. Then you switch at least one meal a day to something fresh, not pre-packaged. Or maybe instead of quitting smoking cold turkey, you just reduce your smoking by a pack a week (at least), or you stop smoking during work hours. Or maybe instead of having a marathon be your first race, you start with a 5K, then a 10K and work your way up?
This may sound like you’re settling or you’re lowering the bar. But I challenge you to think about it differently. Maybe you think of it as climbing a ladder. You just make that first ring on the ladder something you can reach. Then as you climb, you gain confidence to keep climbing. The reality is some of our lofty resolutions are only achievable if we stick with them for a longer period of time. The real challenge is keeping up the motivation to continue to work towards the goal. And creating a plan that is very difficult from the start is just setting yourself up for failure.
What I find interesting is resolutions are goals we set for ourselves. We have 100% control over. We have control over what they are and the plan on how to get there. Yet we create paths that almost promise failure. Why? Is it because we are impatient? Or is it because we are lazy? We are so programmed to quick fixes and hope to see the most results with the least amount of effort. Why do you think diet pills, cosmetic surgery and juice cleanses all spike in sales in the beginning of the year?
So let’s put this into practice. I can use my resolutions as an exercise. This year, one resolution I have is to improve my Spanish. I’ve been with Christian for over ten years and his family’s first language is Spanish. When we spend time together, Spanish is the language being spoken 98% of the time. I’m pretty good at understanding the conversation, but struggle expressing myself and contributing in-language. Also, the more time we spend together, the more I struggle even understanding because my brain is exhausted, or I’ve had more wine and therefore it’s just running slower.
After spending the holidays with Christian’s family, I realized that if I’m going to spend the rest of my life with this man I love and his family – which are amazing by the way, then I want to be able to communicate with them better. I have really good relationships with them, but at some point, if there’s a barrier to communication, your relationships can only grow so much. Plus, if we are going to try to start a family one day, it’s important to me that our child is bilingual so they can have close relationships with their relatives – and then what? I won’t be able to always understand my own child? Oh hell no!
But learning another language at almost 40 is no small feat. Sorry but our brains don’t pick up language like when we were kids. Plus learning a language takes real commitment and consistency which can be hard as we search for dedicated time for ourselves. So if I’m going to be successful at this, let’s start small.
First, I got the tools. I downloaded Duolingo – a mobile app that turns learning a language into more of a game and I purchased two books – Learning Spanish for Dummies and a middle school/high school Spanish workbook.
Second, I have to set aside time to learn and practice. I am going to start with 30 min a day. Considering how much time I spend on TikTok, this seems doable. I’ll switch off between hitting up the books and doing the mobile app.
Third, I’ll start watching a Spanish program with English subtitles. I watch enough Netflix, so this shouldn’t be tough to incorporate. Plus, have you noticed how great the Spanish content is? So twist my arm lol.
Lastly, I need to get over my insecurity and tap into the Spanish speakers I have around me! I’m very lucky in the fact that I am around Spanish speakers every day – most people don’t have that. That means I have opportunities every day to practice if I just get over being insecure that I’ll screw up. Because the best way to learn is to practice. Plus Christian’s mom is trying to get better at English, so I just may have to set up time with her where we can talk Spanish for half of the call and English for the second half – a win-win!
You’ll also notice my goal isn’t to be fluent in Spanish by the end of the year. It’s to improve. And I’m sure this goal will remain for years to come. But my goal for 2022 is to set up habits that can help me eventually get there. I’m trying to fit it into my current lifestyle so I’ll actually stick with it. And I’m not putting the added pressure on myself to be perfect.
So now you try it. What is the resolution you have for 2022? Now how can you break that down to make it achievable?
New Year, New You. I say, go ahead and make some resolutions – but not too many! Then make a plan that is achievable – start smaller at first. You can always adjust throughout the year if things are going well, or if you’re struggling. But start somewhere. The goal is to be proud of the progress you’ve made by the end of the year. Progress is the achievement. Can you think of anything in your life that you’re really proud of that didn’t take effort? Seriously, think about it!
I’m not saying we haven’t enjoyed moments that brought joy that we didn’t have to put a lot of effort in, but proud? The feeling of proudness doesn’t come for free. Real Achievement takes work and discipline and commitment. So set your resolutions, and your plan and just take it one day at a time. And if you fall off track, pick it back up and keep trying. As long as you keep trying, you can never truly fail. Whether that’s your New Year’s resolution or any change you want to make. And as a side note, you don’t need to wait for New Years to make a goal. And if you haven’t made one yet, it’s not too late! Resolutions can happen anytime – so what are you waiting for?
Thank you so much for listening today. I hope you are feeling a tad more empowered to make a positive change starting today! If you liked this episode and want to hear more, please subscribe, like and share. And don’t forget to leave a review so others know to listen too! You