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You're almost certainly starting the new year wrong

You think you've set yourself up for success, but you will almost certainly fail if you don't make this one change

Welcome to the start of 2020 and, for many, the first real workday of the new year. Many of you have made a New Year's Resolution. According to Yahoo! Finance, 77% of people reading this have resolved to change or improve in some way during 2020.

The statistics on who succeed at fulfilling their resolutions are grim at best. According to Forbes, 75% of people who made a New Year's resolution are off the rails after 30-days. Ninety-two percent will fail to complete their resolution when 2021 comes around.

That's OK; you can make another one.

The problem isn't you.

The problem isn't a lack of willpower.

The problem is the resolution itself.

Most New Year's resolutions seem small but are massive projects. "I will lose 50 pounds."

It doesn't seem hard on December 31st, "I need to lose a pound a week, and I even have two weeks to spare. Easy!"

The discipline, effort, and timing involved for significant weight loss is a major undertaking. By the middle of January, you've skipped a few lunches, inhaled a fast food meal just this one time, and by February, you've given up.

Now we come to the part that so many get wrong.

A resolution creates a large task with no interim goals and no plan of execution. You're not sitting at your desk looking at your 2020 work commitments going, "Increase my sales by 27% to hit my quota and make bonus, I got this."

You're building a plan. You will look at your pipeline, leads, and your targets. You'll work with your peers to create campaigns and measure the progress of your efforts. You have weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. Your manager will work with you through the year and knockdown roadblocks.

"I've got to increase sales by 27%? I can't start a diet!"

You're right.

You're also mistaken.

Step back and break down your resolution into smaller goals, just as you would attack that aggressive sales target.

For example, losing 50 pounds in 12 months is difficult and only addresses the issue. Instead, start small.

For January, take a 20-minute walk every day above and beyond your regular exercise. If that means parking your car somewhere else or getting off at an earlier train or bus stop, that works.

For February, keep walking 20 minutes and eliminate soft drinks.

For March, add taking the stairs when changing from 1 to 5 floors at work, instead of the elevator.

Each individual act is small but moves you toward your primary goal. You've moved to interim goals of, "I will improve my health in these ways," and turned a big-picture resolution into a series of measurable, achievable, realistic steps.

Boom! Success!

You can apply this technique for any goal, whether that be your career, education, health, or family.

So go ahead and throw out that New Year's resolution. Take a step back, make a realistic goal for January, and take the first steps toward reaching the finish line in 2020.

You're far more likely to succeed.

There is a strong belief in the medical community that we do not have an endless supply of discipline and willpower. The brain becomes overwhelmed when asked to do too much, and we lapse. If this is true, it is one of the driving factors on why resolutions fail. Our discipline is focused on other things, making it harder to stretch the mind to meet additional challenges.

Shameless plug.

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