Just because I’m not a fan of New Years’ resolutions doesn’t mean that I discount them for everyone else.  The sad fact is though that for most people New Years’ resolutions won’t work, with around 80% failing by the second week in February.  So how do you give yourself the best chance?

The first way is by thinking in terms of weeks instead of the whole year.  For most of us the stretch of a whole year is too long to maintain momentum, or too far away to connect with.  In that case instead of twelve months why not think in terms of twelve weeks?

This means that it’s easier to feel that the end is in sight, which in turn will help with maintain momentum towards it.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a longer term goal, but instead you can work towards it through staged goals.  It also means that you have the flexibility to tackle more than one thing throughout the year – to exercise more and to start to learn that new language.

But how do you keep the momentum going through those twelve weeks?  Here’s where an idea called “no zero days” comes into its own.

The idea behind no zero days is that you commit to making sure that you never have a day where you don’t take a practical step towards your goal.  For instance, if your long term goal was to redecorate then you wouldn’t have a day go by where you didn’t do something like fill holes or cracks, rub down some paintwork, paint, etc.

The effect of this is that as you build up an unbroken string of days you not only build momentum, but you actively become more and more averse to missing a day with some activity in it.  What the activity is is immaterial – it can be as small as you like, because it’s the long term accumulation of them that will help you to achieve your goal.

If you found this mini Christmas blog about making and keeping resolutions useful then why not check out the others here or sign up for my monthly newsletter, with more practical tips, quirky research, and case studies every month.