Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year By Shrinking Them

Thinking smaller in 2 key ways can both help you achieve more and get better at making resolutions in the future

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Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Why Resolutions Fail: Regression Toward the Mean

If you’re the type of person who struggles to keep resolutions, it will help to understand a critical factor about the resolutions you usually make. How much of a departure from your normal behavior are these resolutions? Chances are, the further they are from your normal behavior, the more likely it is you haven’t kept them.

What You Can Do: Shrink It Down

To avoid falling victim to the spectre of regression toward the mean, you need to shrink your resolutions and shrink your year. Make your goal a smaller jump from your baseline (or mean), and make your timeframe smaller. These two work hand in hand, and if you use them, your likelihood of success this year should be much better.

Tweak 1: Make Your Resolutions Smaller Than Normal

As I mentioned above, even those of us who initially make huge jumps of progress in our goals can tend to wander back toward (or below) where we started. And the larger the difference between where you start and what your goal is, the worse it feels when you end up dropping back toward your baseline.

Tweak 2: Shorten Your Timeline

A year is a long time. And while we can understand intellectually what a year means, we can’t really process that emotionally in our day-to-day existence. We see this play out in two ways when it comes to new year’s resolutions and goals.

The Takeaway: You Can Alway Do Something

Tweaking the magnitude of your resolution and the time period can help turn daunting resolutions into a reality this year. But the key to making it work will always be embracing two things:

  • you can always do something

Written by

Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”:

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