New Year resolutions may feel like a modern tradition, but they actually date back several millennia to ancient Babylonia. In spite of this long history, many of us struggle to make our resolutions stick. The initial surge of inspiration quickly peters out and, before we know it, another year has passed us by.
As any entrepreneur will attest, building a successful business is an endless test of resolve. Whether you want to use your business to achieve financial freedom, create multi-generational wealth, or have an impact at scale, here are three tips to make your resolutions stick:
1. Pay upfront
It's trite advice to be specific about what you want when making a resolution. However, something that often gets overlooked is the effort required to achieve those objectives. It's easy to get caught up in the momentary euphoria of goal setting and assume that we'll do whatever it takes, only to compromise or give up later when present demands overwhelm future aspirations.
We're all hardwired to preserve our status quo, which is in direct conflict with achieving something extraordinary. Something has to give, so what price are you willing to pay?
Make your sacrifice before you begin to deliberately price yourself in and make it harder to quit.
2. Build habits
We're all creatures of habit. The less frequently we do something, the less likely we are to do it at all. This presents an immediate challenge to resolutions that often involve doing things that we aren't already doing.
The obvious solution is to do something every day that gets you closer to achieving what you want. Don't rely on "willpower" or "discipline". Yes, they're important, but they're also finite. Everyone has their breaking point, and when we reach it we're programmed to slip back into our habits.
Motivation will get you started, but habits will keep you going.
3. Leverage accountability
Not only are we creatures of habit, we're also predisposed to choose the path of least resistance. Fortunately, there is a guaranteed tactic for short-circuiting this code: accountability.
Personal accountability is rarely enough because we can always come up with creative reasons for shifting our goalposts. It's a lot harder to circumvent external accountability. So if you're serious about making your resolutions stick, share them.
Saving face in front of those you care about will quash any evolutionary laziness.