Our New Year’s Resolutions generally bomb by mid-January, or right around now. Why? Because we generally shoot too high, miss, and then beat ourselves up about it. The consequence of this cycle is that our self-trust dwindles. What I mean by self-trust is being confident about what we commit to, knowing that we’ll follow through, and knowing what we need to succeed.
This pattern also shows up with our work and personal goals, and even daily to-do lists. After we fail, we’ll try again setting our sights too high, getting our hopes up, failing, feeling crappy, and starting it all over again. This came up with a client recently who set a goal of reading and writing for one hour per day. What resulted was procrastinating, avoiding, and not reading and writing at all.
The opportunity here is to make your resolutions, goals, or new habits as teeny tiny as possible. You want to feel like they are laughably simple to accomplish. Celebrate the heck out of yourself when you follow through (cues the dopamine reward system), and repeat. BJ Fogg sets up this re-patterning in his book Tiny Habits. With compounding impact, the gains add up exponentially from small wins versus procrastinating and avoiding the larger, more overwhelming goals.
Ultimately, you will rock your world and build self-trust so that you know you won’t over-commit, you will follow through with what you said you’d do, and you will feel like a badass.
Instead of: Try (notice these are specific- what you’re doing and when):
Read for one hour Read for ten minutes in bed (shorter increment)
Eat 6 veggies per day Add a new vegetable Monday’s and Wednesday’s (realistic)
Do a 1-minute plank daily 10-second plank twice before brushing teeth (more often)
Write 500 words daily Write for 20 minutes while drinking coffee (it’s time vs. output)
Walk two miles 3x/week Walk for 5 minutes after lunch (shorter time, more often)
Over time, as you build upon your successes, you can raise the bar slightly to incrementally bigger goals that you follow through on—just like that.