According to research, on average, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Your promise to yourself to lose weight, exercise more, finish your novel, learn to play the piano, become a February Fade.
Suzy Chase (@iamsuzychase), a podcast mentor, reports most new podcasters stop by week nine. Writers are even more challenged. According to Synergy Whisperer, "97% of people who start to write a book never finish it. Out of every 1,000 people who set out to do so, only 30 complete the task.” More staggering, only 20% of people who write a book publish it.
The good news is you’re not alone. Resolution-fade, podcast-fade, writing-fade, your-fade, all tend to come from similar issues — things you can address to move forward. If you’re struggling, or giving up, consider these strategies to help you get back on track.
Re-evaluate your goals. Are they too vague or unreasonable? For example, “I will lose weight this year.” Or “I will lose twenty pounds by March.” Make them more “bit-sized,” realistic, and specific. “I will lose two pounds a month for the next three months.” “I will write at least 15 minutes a day, for the next 30 days, and then re-assess.” I set a goal of 100 rejections before I’d give up on getting my second novel published.
Set goals that fit your lifestyle. If you’re trying to exercise more but it takes you forty-five minutes to get to the gym, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Is there something you can do from home or walks you can take in your neighborhood? I wrote my first novel on airplanes, in airline clubs and in hotel rooms. I fit writing into my consulting life.
Join a community. If you are trying to finish writing a book, join a group of writers who are doing the same. Exchange works. Encourage each other. If you’re trying to walk three miles a day, find a group who love to walk, chat, and laugh. Keep it fun.
Take a break. Give yourself permission to NOT walk, write, podcast, take your piano lessons. Rather than give up, take a breather. “Today (this week), I will stop and pick it up again on Tuesday.”
Be accountable to more than you. Enroll a trusted friend or family member who is also working toward a goal. Check in with each other. Praise progress. Listen with empathy. Ask questions. “Why do you think you’re having so much difficulty?” “Is there a deeply felt reason for pushing forward?” “Is there anything you can do to make this easier?”
Look for inspiration from others. Who do you know who is meeting her goals? Who has something to teach you, or an encouraging story of overcoming adversity and achieving success (big or small)?
Celebrate success and learn from setbacks. Give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished. “I wrote for 15 minutes each day this week.” Share with your community and buddy. Look at setbacks as learning opportunities. “I set up my podcast time on a day everyone was home and the house was noisy. I need to re-think my schedule.”
February 15 is only a week away. Avoid the FADE, re-think, re-charge. Perseverance and resiliency are competencies worth nurturing.
How are you doing with your goals? How is your writing coming? Share your story including your setbacks. Help and inspire others.