Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions' time is up! Have you started thinking of your goal for the new year? You still have several hours to decide on it. Writing your ideas down is good, too. Our Wellness Director, Brandon Holt (see his healthy holidays tips HERE), has a quote by Lee Iacocca at his desk, "The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen." I love it! If I did not write things down, I would not remember anything.

Do you remember your resolution from the last New Year's? If yes, good! Have you followed your goal up to this day? Maybe less "yes" answers here. Well, you are not alone. Whether it is weight loss, quitting smoking, going to the gym, or picking up a new language, no goal is too easy to stick to. However, the studies (and other people's experiences) have confirmed that it is possible to increase your chances for success dramatically.

Apparently, people are much more likely to stick to their goals if there are stakes involved. Moreover, it is the fear to lose rather than desire to gain that motivates us like nothing else. For example,  losing $100 is more painful than receiving the same amount, in case you follow through with your goal.

Why don't we use technology to our advantage? There is an online "commitment store" called stickK that uses the two most important principles of achieving any goal - creating incentives and assigning accountability. If you do not fulfill your commitment, the site tells all your friends about it! Moreover, you can put your money at stake, and every time you fail, the site will be making an automatic donation to a charity (or, more effectively, to an anti-charity) of your choice. Feeling uncomfortable putting your money at risk? You won't have to pay a dime if you stick to your goal. According to Tim Ferriss and his book "The 4-Hour Chef", based on stickK's goal completion percentages from 2008-2011, the success rate with no stakes is 33.5%. Once we add stakes like an anti-charity, that success rate more than doubles to 72.8%!

Of course, you do not have to include any stakes. Last year, my Mom and I had a little competition right before the New Year (who would lose more weight during one month). We used stickK website and were each other's accountability partners. We did not put any anti-charity donations at stake (of which I regretted later), and... my Mom won because she had gained less weight than me. I gave her the prize, $100, but it was not painful, since it was my Mom, and I simply thought of it as a New Year's gift. I definitely want to include the anti-charity donation into my goal this year! 

If you are familiar with the Pinterest, you have probably spent hours and hours browsing through the pretty pictures. Unfortunately, not all the things on Pinterest are as great as they seem to be, but sometimes you can find a really useful piece of advice there. I have found a great one there recently - a workout tip jar idea. After each workout, you tip yourself $1. After a set number of workouts (for example, a hundred), you can treat yourself to new clothes or shoes (or a SPA visit), as long as it is NOT food (do not reward yourself with food, you are not a dog). It really motivates me to work out when I do not feel like it because I can earn another dollar towards my reward. 

New Year is a wonderful time when you can start your life anew. You get another chance to make a change to the better. I hope you are in great spirits and feel inspired to live the life you've always wanted. May all your dreams come true this New Year! 

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