Editor’s Note: This story is part of our special New Year’s package “Your Future Self,” click here to read the full series.
There is a degree of magical thinking that takes place this time of year. After all, there is no logical reason why your motivations or willpower would be any different the first week in January versus, say, the third week in March. Yet, so many of us (close to half of all Americans) make New Year’s resolutions. The bad news is that just 8% of us will actually keep them all year.
Which is why we set out to find out exactly how to stick to resolutions on the first episode of the second season of Secrets of the Most Productive People. We got expert advice from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author Charles Duhigg, who told us that the secret to sticking to any goal is taking steps to turn it into a lasting habit. He also broke down exactly how to do that, and shared why even though it seems arbitrary, January 1st may be the best time to make a big change.
We also heard from some Fast Company staff about what their resolutions are for 2019 and how they have stuck to resolutions in the past.
And this season, we are introducing a new segment called “You Might Want to Write This Down,” where we’ll spell out a few quick tips from our research and past coverage that you can take away and hopefully put into action.
3 Quick Tips For Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions
1. Find your motivation. List why you want to do this particular thing. Do you want to save money to buy a house? Do you want to get a promotion because you want to change the way the company does something in particular?
2. Make failure more painful. If you want to start exercising more, sign up for a race, if you want to save more money, set up a direct debit from your paycheck to a savings account.
3. Create a plan for dealing with setbacks. Setbacks will happen. When you face a setback you are likely to end up throwing in the towel completely. So if you make a plan in advance of how you’ll get back on track, you are more likely to succeed.
Have you made a New Year’s resolution for 2019? Did you keep your resolutions for 2018? Let us know using #FCMostProductive and be sure to subscribe to Secrets of the Most Productive People wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.