When holiday music fades and the time to pay for resolution appears, let Harvard experts make the transition a little easier. Don't know where to start? You can try the 1 percent performance improvement method. Depressed because of the prospect of lifestyle changes? Practice attentively and find out how meditation can produce a "better brain" in just eight weeks. Want to extend it? Learn what the 80 years of Harvard research said about living longer and happier.
Still not sure what works best for you? Select the topic from Harvard T.H. Chan's School of Nutrition for Public Health, where you will find advice that goes far beyond your plate and the first cup of coffee in the morning.
The key is to choose your New Year's resolution, and make it happen. MacKenzie Kassab, former contributor to the Sustainable Division Education Professional Development website, compiled a 12-month plan to create – and save – resolutions filled with suggestions from experts from Harvard and so on.
January: Ready, set, target
Here it is: time to think ahead about where – and who – you want this year.
"I don't think there is such a thing as a goal too big," said Margaret Andrews, president of the consultant consultant Mind and Hand Associates and an instructor for the Division of Continuing Education at the Harvard Division.
So reach for the stars! But remember, even astronauts have to deal with bad weather. "You have to think about your ecosystem," Andrews said. What external factors can prevent you from achieving your goals?
You might decide to eat healthy food and lose five pounds around the center of your body. That makes sense. But how are you going to overcome that sugar craving at 3? What will you do when your unconscious partner fills the cupboard with cakes and chips? Is something out of your control that can be a barrier to success? Remember that, but don't be discouraged.
"Consider what you need to start doing or stop doing, and anticipate obstacles," Andrews said. "If you don't think about it now, then you won't have the determination at that moment." Prepare a strategy, and you will soon reach that goal in a short time.
February: Commit to a process
You have set a goal for a goal. Now, make a plan.
Entrepreneurs and authors of "Atomic Habits" James Clear recently told Inc. magazine that just setting goals is the first step towards unhappiness.
"You basically said," I'm not good enough, but I will when I reach my destination. & # 39; The problem with this mindset is that you teach yourself to always delay happiness and success until the next milestone is reached, "said Clear.
Instead, he suggests focusing on a process, not the end result. Deconstructing your goals becomes productive and can be applied.
Finding a new job is a general resolution. But hunting can be scary. To make it more manageable, make a schedule: send two resumes a week, or attend one networking event a month.
By celebrating small victories, the journey becomes meaningful like the goal.
March: Find your motivation
"There is no one-size solution for all in terms of motivation," Andrews said. "Some people become whole pigs, and others calm themselves down. You really need to know yourself and what suits you."
It's time to explore what ignites your fire. If your goal is to run a marathon, you might find the biggest boost in giving a small victory prize. Reaching 10 miles, order yourself with a massage.
If that doesn't work for you, see if the picture of Usain Bolt in the fridge is enough to keep you moving. Explore tactics until you find the right one, and don't be afraid to be creative.
April: Call for your intentions
If your ambitions fade, state your intentions from the roof. Send a text to a friend, send an email to a close friend, or call your mother.
"When we advertise our desire to change, we openly risk failure, put our reputation and self-esteem on the line," said Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author of "Trigger." cash and accept friendly bets without money. "
Encouragement is a positive by-product – most people want to see you succeed, and some may even offer support or guidance.
May: Question everything you do
One of Goldsmith's "magical moves" to change behavior is to question yourself every day. He suggests compiling a list of questions that encourage reflection.
Someone who aims to get three new clients this year might ask, "Am I doing my best to produce referrals today?" Meanwhile, someone who wants a higher savings account can ask, "Am I doing my best to avoid unnecessary expenses today?"
There are no rules, besides tracking progress with the same questions every day, and only one suggestion: start each question with "Am I doing my best to …"
"This phrase injects ownership and personal responsibility into the question and answer process," he said.
June: Review your goals
You have been half a year, and your goal is in sight! Or maybe not. If things don't go according to plan, reconsider your strategy and be honest about the value of your resolution for you.
"Someone I know is trying to lose weight, and he was told that he had to cut his wine glass every night," Andrews said. "He knows he's good enough to say, & # 39; That's the fun part of my life, and I don't want to give up. & # 39; He found other ways to keep up." Look at which tactics are less effective at the moment, and explore other ways to achieve your goals. Maybe you add 15 minutes to your training but keep pinot noir.
Tweaking your expectations might also be acceptable. "You might want to be your weight at 18, but are you very What do you want to do to get there? "Andrews asked. Inserting tight jeans from last year might be a reasonable compromise, especially you have seen what success requires.
July: Find support
There are reasons why support groups exist for everything, from addiction to breastfeeding: There is strength in numbers. Social support can be a tool to achieve goals.
"Hold on with the right crowd and their success can inspire us to think," If they can do it, I can too! "# Piers Steel, the researcher behind" Equation of Delay. "
Find organizations whose mission is in line with your organization, both Weight Watchers, Habitat for Humanity, or the Society of Women Engineers. Market gaps are a good reason to make your group goal-oriented, which may be only a handful of colleagues who share professional growth strategies at dinner. "Give up or keep trying – both are contagious," Steel said.
August: Get energy
All goals, personal or professional, require adequate energy. Unfortunately, things like stress, caffeine, alcohol, and late at night can drain stamina. Willingness and motivation are often the next goals.
Lifestyle changes are very extreme, but small changes increase. First, clean your living room or workspace from interference, whether that means cleaning up the mess from your desk or removing the Facebook application from your cellphone. Steel recommends "strategic allocation" of limited energy reserves. Less messy, literal or figurative, with more mental focus.
Next, determine when you are most efficient, and offer a portion of that time to fulfill your goals. Are you a morning person trying to speak French? Wear the France Internationale Radio while getting ready to work. Is your head clearest in the afternoon? Take out les leçons on your lunch break.
And don't ignore your mental and physical health. "Your energy reserves are limited resources, so reactivate them," Steel said. That means taking care of your health – and sleeping well.
September: See the results
Close your eyes. Now, imagine fulfilling your goal. Do you hold a gold medal? Higher salary? Alaska roasted with jaws? According to Steel, "The detailed mental creation of a show involves mirror neurons that carve the action in your brain almost as deep as if you really practiced it."
The next step – and most importantly – is called mental contrast: visualize where you are today, with blank casings, bank accounts, or ovens. "The result is that your current situation becomes framed as a barrier that blocks your dreams," Steel said.
Compare where you are and where you want to be a spark, the motivation most people need to act.
October: Get inspiration
Bill Gates read 50 books reported a year. In fact, one of Microsoft's founders was very excited to read so he started the GatesNotes blog to post a review of his favorite titles. "Dog Shoes," by Phil Knight Nike, is at the top of the list. "Knights open themselves in ways that only a few CEOs want to do," Gates wrote. "He told his story as honest as he could. This is an amazing story. "And that inspires, even for one of the most powerful men in the world.
Books and films can provide encouragement that we cannot always get from the people around us. "Rocky" gives hope to the oppressed. "The Pursuit of Happyness" indicates that everything is possible. Look for plots that attack chords. "The most effective [biographies] will resonate with your own background, "Steel said.
Not everyone can hijack books a week, but motivational speeches and podcasts flow from all over the internet. "Great athletes, heroes and entrepreneurs regularly talk about their experiences," Steel said. "Search for them."
Get inspired on your morning trip, and you will be surprised by what you can achieve throughout the day.
November: Ask for help
Another thing about Goldsmith's magic movement is asking for help. "Some people will reject your sincere request," he said. "Asking for help supports the change process, keeps moving forward."
When you find a stumbling block, call friends who have achieved the same goal or your professional mentor. Most people will feel honored that you come to them for support.
And when you are ready to fly a white flag, contact an expert. There are resources to support almost every ambition, from amateur cooking classes to professional development programs. Even Beyoncé works with a vocal coach to achieve his goal of dominating the world.
December: Greetings of success – or lessons learned
The end of the year is the time to reflect on progress towards your goal or pat your own back to achieve it.
Is there shame for not meeting the resolution? "That depends on the goal," Andrews said. "If it stops doing something rude to yourself or others, it might not be good to give up. Or maybe it turns out your goal isn't really what you are looking for. You know what? This is your life, and you have to decide that. Failure is not a failure if you learn something from it. It is only the station for the road to success. "
Reflect on this year's obstacles and processes, and repeat your strategy for next year. There is rarely a time limit for prosperity.
Ready to start?
Develop your personal plan to meet your resolution with the 12-month worksheet that you can download here.
– MacKenzie Kassab