Here’s How You Can Actually Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What’s your New Year’s resolution? is written by Robin Koval, president and CEO of Truth Initiative.
The tradition of setting new goals and resolutions permeates everyday culture during the year-end holiday season. While it certainly doesn’t keep me up at night, it’s a ritual and a challenge I look forward to every year.
But making resolutions and keeping them are two very different things. Only a small fraction of us succeed. University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their 2015 New Year’s goals. I’m grateful for my Bronx upbringing, as I gained a ton of grit that I believe made the difference in converting many of my resolutions into reality. In fact, grit can help you accomplish pretty much anything. A growing body of evidence from academia, science, and the business world shows that more than talent, intellect, or financial resources, grit and its component traits of guts, resilience, initiative, and tenacity are the key to achieving our goals.
My New Year’s resolution is to get to bed earlier. It sounds simple, but given my obsession with having no unread emails before I lie down—and a Facebook (FB) dependence that should have a 12-step program to overcome—I routinely see single digits on the clock before I turn the lights off. No doubt, I’m going to need grit to quit and have better sleep hygiene in my future. Speaking of 12, here are some grit tips that will help make 2016 your most successful resolutions year ever (number nine will help me to achieve mine):
1. Be bold
Talk to one new stranger each day. For example, strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you in the elevator. Taking a small risk can empower you to be more courageous in taking on new goals.
2. Chew on it
Next time you’re stymied to come up with a creative idea, stick a wad of gum in your mouth. The chewing motion increases blood flow to your head, giving your brain a boost.
3. Stand tall
Do a power pose (wide stance with hands in the air—think Superman) the next time you feel nervous. Researchers found that assuming this position for just one minute increases testosterone levels (which boosts confidence) and decreases cortisol levels (which lowers anxiety and improves ability to deal with stress).
4. Get uncomfortable
Brush your teeth or eat your breakfast with your non-dominant hand. Doing things in a novel way will spark your creativity.
5. Get rejected
Once or twice a week, ask for something that you think might be impossible. It will help you develop a thicker skin as you try to reach your more ambitious goals.
6. Embrace boredom
Instead of running to answer those emails, spend a few minutes just daydreaming. That’s when we often have our most brilliant ideas.
7. Make it your password
Make your new goal your computer password. You’ll be reminded/motivated every time you log in.
8. Make your bed
Starting your morning with even a small accomplishment will increase your endorphin level and help you take on the bigger tasks later in the day.
9. Hit the sack
Go to bed one minute earlier each day for a month. It may not seem like much, but by the end of the month, you’ll be getting an extra half hour of sleep per night.
10. The nose knows
The brain connects memories with smells, so next time you’re trying to remember something, try focusing on it while peeling an orange.
11. Drink up
Have an extra two or three glasses of liquids a day. Whether it’s a smoothie, coconut water, sports drink, or even coffee, it’ll make you feel sharper, healthier, and happier.
12. Do good
Give one stranger a compliment every day. Making someone else feel better increases your own happiness and positivity.
Robin Koval is the president and CEO of Truth Initiative author of Grit to Great.