A New Way for New Year’s Resolutions in 2013
Posted by: Nicky Garcea & Alex Linley
One in four New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week, that is 7 days – at most – since they were made. A New Year’s resolution is a new ‘intent’. It’s been shown that people who commit explicitly to a goal - particularly if it’s written down – are more likely to achieve those goals.
But for whatever reason, that doesn’t appear to hold as well when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.
One of the issues that crops up with New Year’s resolutions is that, by their very nature, they tend to focus on things that we are not yet doing. Or things that we are doing and want to stop doing. This is likely to mean that we are either trying to change a habit, or we’re trying to build on a weakness, neither of which is easy.
And further, as strengths psychologists, we know that when people try to build on weaknesses, they rarely succeed. True progress and performance only comes through strengths.
Similarly, the issue with changing a habit is that habits exist for very good reasons. They have come about because they are shortcuts, the natural ways in which we have come to do things. They are effortless, they feel natural, they don’t require us to think, to plan, to change.
As a result, staying with our existing habits is pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying to do when we introduce a New Year’s resolution.
This New Year, there is an opportunity to make your resolutions differently. With over 55,000 now having completed Realise2, our online strengths identification and development tool, we know that no two people have an identical profile.
Our individual strengths, and their myriad possible combinations and dynamics when combined with each other, provide rich ground for us to explore in making our New Year’s resolutions for 2013.
As you do so, ask yourself these three simple questions to create strong resolutions that will make the most of your unique strengths:
1. Which of my realised strengths most readily relate to my New Year’s resolutions? (E.g., Curiosity will help with taking a professional course, Persistence will be more use in helping you to quit smoking, and Adventure will be powerful in inspiring you to strike out with a new career direction).
2. Which of my unrealised strengths can I use more to help me achieve my New Year’s resolutions? (The opportunity you have here is to create new habits by using strengths you haven’t used so much before).
3. What are the strengths dynamics that might help or hinder me in what I want to achieve? (What are the links between strengths that will turbo-charge these strengths in combination? Are there dynamics that might get in the way of you delivering your best performance? This is where a deeper dive into the unique potential of your Realise2 profile comes into its own).
Work on using your strengths more to achieve your goals (in this case, your 2013 New Year’s resolutions). You’ll find that you are happier, more confident, more resilient, less stressed and more likely to be effective in getting what you want.
As remarkable as it is, these are all benefits that follow from using your strengths more, as documented across a series of studies from ourselves and others.
So, to make 2013 your year, the best advice is to work on achieving your New Year’s resolutions through harnessing the performance power of your strengths.
And, for the technophiles amongst you, a bonus: Consider if you can use one of the best apps for the most common things we try to do around this time every year…
Happy New Year!