The Top 20th Percentile on January 15th

by Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.

According to research, approximately 80 percent of the population who sets a New Year’s Resolution will admit defeat by January 15th. Self improvement is difficult and takes considerable discipline. It’s a much more complicated process than we care to admit. Following these 3 guidelines can assist in attaining a new personal standard, regardless of the time of year or habit to be refined.

  1. Choose Meaningful Challenges

Is the change truly worth the struggle about to be faced? If the change is worth it – where is the bar set for “successful” achievement? We know that a challenge set too low will become stale and boring. We also know that a challenge set too high will lead to frustration and quitting. Be thoughtful.

  1. Commit to Action

What are the newly modified, daily actions required to reach the challenge? There are many aspects of life that are outside of one’s control (family and professional needs, altered schedules, unpredictable weather, etc). Individuals who act upon a small, daily action (a purposeful 5 minutes is better than an excuse for 0) that is fully under their own control continues to keep the ball rolling in the appropriate direction. Small, daily action becomes significant, monthly momentum after 30 committed days.

  1. Evaluate (#1 & #2)…and Revise if Necessary

On a daily, weekly, and monthly basis – evaluate…(#1) whether the change is still important enough to struggle through and is the bar set at the appropriate level; and (#2) does commitment remain to the controllable, daily actions in order to align today to the desired result down the road? If yes, continue to embrace the struggle to success. If no, choose whether a revision is more worthwhile than total defeat.

We all have the best intention for self improvement. Those who maintain passion, priorities and are willing to struggle (and fail) from time to time will gradually see their dreams becoming reality on January 15th and beyond. For more insight on this topic please follow this link to a previous entry on our blog by Dr. Doug Gardner https://prosportpsychsym.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/april-fools-on-new-year%e2%80%99s-day/

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