Making Resolutions Stick

Every January most of us set a New Year’s Resolution or goals for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, according to studies, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail and only 8% of people actually achieve their goals.  So, what can we actually do to reach our goals?

First off, achieving a goal requires us to change our habits and attitudes.  We have to remind ourselves that it took months or years to develop the habits we are currently in and we are not going to change them overnight.  Habits and attitudes are literally wired into our brains.  We have created pathways in our brain that make an action a habit.  The good news is, by deliberate practice, we can rewire our brains to the new discipline we want to create.  

Ann Graybiel of MIT’s McGovern Institute has shown through research that neurons in the brain change their firing patterns when habits are learned, and can change again when unlearned.   When is a habit learned?

Studies over the years have stated that it takes 21-28 days to create a habit, but new research points more to 66 days.   If we can do something for 66 days straight, we can most likely keep it up for a year, five, or thirty.  21 or 28 days may be just enough time to make it questionable, or make you confident but not quite able to stick to it for the long haul.

Put a plan in place to make just 3 changes that would assist you in reaching your goal then set a countdown calendar for 66 days.  Everyday cross a day off your calendar so you can see your progress.  At the end of 66 days, you will be amazed at the difference and how much easier those 3 things are than they were when you started!