Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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Can You Effect Change in 2018 without Resolutions?

shutterstock_753302986Ah, it’s January of a new year, a time most people reflect on the past year – what worked, what didn’t and what should have been done. Then we see our co-workers and our friends and family, and we are often asked “So what are YOUR New Year’s resolutions?” The common responses tend to be health-related, such as losing weight, quitting smoking and exercising regularly, or financial, such as debt reduction and better money management. But when we reflect, we can see why last year’s resolutions weren’t fulfilled, and that’s due to the fact that they are just that – resolutions. Resolutions have been shown to have been actualized less than 10% of the time.

So is it possible to have the best intentions for 2018 without having actual resolutions? Absolutely. Let me share with you some ways you can effect positive change in your life by simply adjusting the way you perceive those intentions.

Turning a Plan into Action – The readiness to change, or how prepared a person is to enter the action stage of changing their behaviour, has been found to be the single best predictor of New Year’s resolution success, with those who have intention to be 10 times more likely to succeed than adults who were not yet ready to put plans into action.

Unrealistic Goals and Expectations – People often make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, but if they aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, then success will be difficult to achieve. Set only one resolution to focus on, and be specific. Setting short-term goals which are attainable and realistic, such as “I am going to lose 2 lbs. per week for the next 10 weeks” vs. “I am going to lose 20 lbs. starting now”, have been found to be more effective in the long term. With systems in place that reward new behaviours, while avoiding high-risk situations that allow for a step-back, it can be easier to stay on track.

Be Accountable to Someone – Have a buddy, someone close to you, to cheer you on but also to whom you have to report to at set intervals and maintain this accountability. This person can remind you of your success achieved thus far, and help you celebrate along the way, not just at the end.

Changing the Way You Think – By focusing your thinking on creating new behaviours and thought patterns, you will be able to change your habits. This involves creating new neural pathways in your brain that set your habitual thoughts to the “new standard”, and become your default when faced with new situations, like when you are faced with the dessert menu and others are ordering from it. Your new way of thinking becomes your way of creating positive habits.

Be Present and Mindful – When you focus on the moment, and not what happened in the past or worry about the future, you can be mindful of our feelings and think of what we can do TODAY to achieve your goal. In fact, if you can visualize having already attained your goal, this will help you create readiness and intention to pursue it.

How will you make changes in your life this year? Have you found success with these tips? I look forward to hearing from you!

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Setting the Right Goals

Goal-SettingA new year provides an opportunity for many of us to set goals to work towards, after reflecting on changes we want to see in our lives. Setting goals is a part of human nature: they provide us with purpose and motivation to become our best possible selves, whether it’s personally or professionally.

So how is it that so many of us are taking this very important task, and doing it all wrong? What many people don’t realize is that there is more to goal-setting than simply thinking of a broad stroke dream and telling yourself you want it to happen. Deciding to merely “lose weight” or “quit smoking” is a start, but it is also about how you approach your goal that will result in its greatest probability of success.

What do you need to do differently? I’ve outlined five things you can do to ensure your resolutions become reality in 2015:

  1. Write them down
    • Putting things onto paper helps you form a “contract” with yourself. Write down your goals and post them somewhere you’ll see them often (i.e. your smartphone, desk, fridge, bathroom mirror, car dashboard)
  1. Narrow your goals
    • We work best when we can focus on one goal at a time, especially when there may be more than one lifestyle change that’s affected. Only include goals where you will truly push yourself to succeed. Perhaps delay some goal-setting for later dates throughout the year to give each of them the attention they deserve.
  1. Make sure they’re SMART!
    • All your goals should pass the SMART test; they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For more information on SMART goal setting, click here: http://topachievement.com/smart.html
  1. Envision an action plan from the beginning!
    • Have an idea of exactly how you’re going to tackle your goal as soon as you make it. If you can’t even think of where to start, perhaps it is too big a feat and you may need to scale it back.
  1. Make yourself accountable.
    • Teaming up with a buddy who shares your goal by being your ally can help you stay on track. Friends can be a great source of support and encouragement.

Remember to pat yourself on the back on the positive changes you will make, and let us know how well you did! I wish you all the best of success in your endeavours in 2015.