Why you should write down your New Year’s resolutions

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Writing down your New Year resolutions

Typically, only ten percent of us make our new year’s resolutions stick long term. How can you help yourself succeed this year? It turns out, the simple act of writing them down can have a huge impact.

According to a survey undertaken last year by Medifast, only ten percent of adults surveyed stuck with their 2021 new year’s resolutions. In fact, nearly half broke their resolutions within the first month.

How to succeed? Write them down!

However, we have good news if you fancy making – and keeping – a new year’s resolution this year. A study by Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University in California, reported in Inc. magazine showed that the simple act of writing down your new year’s resolutions can improve your chances of keeping them long-term. In fact, her work found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

Leadership guru Tony Robbins a big fan of writing down goals because it adds an extra level of intent and maximises your chances of success. He says, “How you make and follow through on the outcomes you want is a long-term process, not a short-term, once-a-year resolution… instead of merely resolving to change a behaviour, write down your goal! Not on a computer, but on paper or in a journal.”

How to make new year’s resolutions stick

Tony Robbins advocates a seven-step approach to making your new year’s resolutions stick. The seven steps are:

  • Decide and commit to making a change
  • Document what you want
  • Get clear on the why
  • Fina absolutely certainty and take action
  • Measure your progress
  • Keep going
  • Celebrate your success

This long-term strategy for working on your resolutions over the year is also recommended by Kendra Cherry on Very Well Mind. She says, “By sticking with it and working on your goal all year long, you can be one of the few able to say that you really did keep your new year’s resolution – and if you’re writing down your progress and strategies, you’ll have ready proof of your efforts if you ever feel like giving up.”

Why does writing down your resolutions work so well?

There’s another reason why experts say writing down your resolutions helps you to keep them: writing down your resolutions helps you connect both sides of your brain to achieving your goal. If you simply think about your dreams, you are engaging only the right side of the brain; the imaginative centre. By writing down your resolutions, you engage the left side of your brain, the one responsible for logic.

Dr Gail Matthew’s study found that 35 percent of people who wrote down their goals kept their resolution. Remember, this compares to the average of just ten percent of people keeping their goals!

And, it doesn’t have to stop there: it turns out that the more you write down your goals, the better your chances of success.

Keep writing down your resolutions

According to Inc. magazine, the author Grant Cardone writes his goals down twice a day: once first-thing in the morning and once last-thing at night. He explains, “I want to write down my goals before I go to sleep at night because they are important to me.” You can further boost your likelihood of success in keeping your resolutions by writing down both your resolutions and your progress against them and then sharing those details with a supportive friend.

Dr Gail Matthew’s study found that more than 70 percent of those people who wrote down their resolutions and then sent weekly updates to a friend about their progress were successful in keeping their goals.

So now you know – if you want to succeed with your new year’s resolutions this year, write them down, keeping writing them down, and share your progress with a friend – and you’ll be much more likely to succeed.

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