The Secret Formula for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions – or any goal

 In Goals, Health

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously tough to keep – as is true with almost any goal that requires us to change.  Whether we are trying to eat healthier, exercise more, get more organized or to quit smoking, the odds are against us.  Unless…  we know the secret formula for success.  The formula is simply the PASSION we have for making the change DIVIDED by our PERCEIVED EFFORT.


The more passion or desire we have and the easier we think it will be, the bigger our chance of success.  What is truly great about knowing this formula is the ability to improve our odds by finding ways to increase our passion and decrease our perceived effort.  For example, why is it important to you to make this change?  What are the benefits?  The best reasons are not necessarily shoulds, “I should exercise more so I can be healthier.”  But instead are emotional, “It’s important to me to have enough energy to keep up with my kids (or grandkids) so we can have a closer relationship.”  Or “It’s important to me to feel strong enough to keep doing the things I enjoy as I get older.” Then we can surround ourselves with reminders about our “WHY,” especially in those places where we are most tempted.  The reminders can be pictures, quotes, a bracelet, anything that is easy to see.

How about ways to reduce our perceived effort?  Try the 20-second rule.  If it takes you less than 20 seconds to do the right thing, you are more likely to do it.  For example, you want a snack.  If you can grab something healthy in less than 20 seconds instead of candy or cookies, you are more likely to take the faster, easier way.  If you have your exercise clothes laid out by your bed to put on as soon as you get up, you are more likely to put them on and be ready to go.  So set yourself up for success by making it easy and fast.

What tricks do you use to increase your passion or reduce your perceived effort?  Please share below!


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations fulfill their true potential using strategies from the science of Positive Psychology.

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