Plenty of people roll their eyes when it comes to New Year's resolutions. After all, how many people actually keep them after a few weeks? As you may have guessed, not many.
According to U.S. News, roughly 80 per cent of Americans give up on their resolutions by the second week of February. At that rate, resolutions can seem pretty pointless, but there are actually quite a few benefits to making them, including inspiring positive change and self-reflection.
The idea of making a change to your life can seem daunting, especially if you don't have the right motivation. That's why Gretchen Hydo, a Los Angeles-based professional certified life and business coach, suggests choosing a resolution based on your motivation style to help set you up for success.
When it comes to making long-lasting changes, tapping in to one's motivation is key.
"When it comes to making long-lasting changes, tapping in to one's motivation is key," she told HuffPost Canada via email. "Most people know what they 'should' do. But if there isn't a meaningful reason to change the behaviour, it's likely the attempt towards the goal will fall short.
"It takes 21 days to create a new habit," she added. "Most people give up their New Year's resolution by Jan. 17. That is just four days short of making their goal. The reason? Lack of motivation."
With this in mind, here are six motivation styles and the resolutions that work best with each, according to Hydo.
1. Motivated by rewards and incentives
Best resolutions: Saving money, fitness, following through on tasks.
Why? This motivation might seem pretty obvious, but there's a reason why it works. "People driven by rewards/incentives are willing to take action when they know they will have something tangible at the end of the process," Hydo explains. "These types of goals are easier for people to reach because the incentive/reward is something that they truly want and [something] that will have a gratifying effect on their life."
How to achieve these goals: The downside of basing resolutions on rewards is that they can cause people to be unrealistic. That's why Hydo suggests having an umbrella goal that you can "break down into manageable pieces."
"Creating SMART goals helps people to do that: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, with a timetable," she says.
For instance, if the goal is to save money for a trip to Japan by the end of the year, the SMART goal might be to save $200 per month (specific and time-focused) by packing lunches and only eating out a maximum of once a week (measurable). This is attainable because it's a simple change in spending habits.
2. Motivated by fear of consequences
Best resolutions: Bad habits such as smoking, doing work during personal time, or talking to your ex on Facebook.
Why? "People who are fear based are motivated to give things up when they are worried about what will happen when others find out," says Hydo.
How to achieve these goals: For these types of resolutions, it's important to remember why you want to make these changes. "The first thing I ask my clients to do is to define their why. Why do you want to make this change? What would it mean to you and others in your life if you made these changes?" Hydo says.
The other question you need to ask yourself is, who you are making these changes for? "Making changes for others is gallant, but not always long-lasting," the life coach says. "Your motivation must connect with your heart and the reason for the change must mean something personally to you."
3. Motivated by achievement
Best resolutions: Writing a book, running a 5k marathon, training for a triathlon, volunteering at a homeless shelter.
Why? According to Hydo, people who love public recognition "should choose goals that put them in the spotlight."
How to achieve these goals: In addition to creating SMART goals, you also need to visualize the end result, Hydo says. This is especially useful if your resolution is driven by achievements.
"How do you feel? What do you look like? What are you wearing? What do you think about yourself? What do others think? Capitalize on that feeling and create it daily by visualizing the end game," says Hydo.
4. Motivated by growth
Best resolutions: Learn to meditate, take a cooking class, work with a coach, go on a retreat, apply for a new job.
Why? Hydo says that "people who are motivated by growth are looking to achieve goals that will expand their mindset."
How to achieve these goals: If you want to grow as an individual in the new year, you have to make this a priority and take initiative. An easy way to make sure you stay on track is to have an accountability partner who you can report to and who will check in on you.
"Having to report your progress often helps to stay accountable (because people want to look good)," Hydo explains.
5. Motivated by power
Best resolutions: Working towards a promotion, being the leader of a community group or organization, political involvement.
Why? According to Hydo, "people who are motivated by power want to climb to the highest status level they can so that they can use their knowledge, prestige, and title to get the things that they want."
How to achieve these goals: Being driven by power is a strong motivation in itself. However, Hydo reminds us that it's important to find "a goal that resonates with you and a reason for doing it that will tap into your motivation."
For example, getting more education can help you climb the career ladder. However, if parental pressures are the only reason you have for going back to school to achieve this, as opposed to your own ambition, this resolution won't work.
6. Motivated by social factors
Best resolutions: Start a book club, plan community events, get involved with a cause, volunteer, be a mentor.
Why? "People motivated by belonging will want to join a group of people where they can collectively and individually affect change," says Hydo.
How to achieve these goals: Your motivation to be social and find community will encourage you to get out there and make connections with others, thus achieving your resolution. However, as Hydo suggested before, finding a partner who can either check in on your goals or participate with you can help make this resolution even more achievable.
Knowing what you value is a big part of motivation.
At the end of the day, reminding yourself of what your motivation is can really help you stay on track when it comes to keeping your New Year's resolution.
"We all have a unique set of values that are our operating principals of life," says Hydo. "Knowing what you value will help you to determine where to spend your time and resources, where to volunteer and work, and who to spend time in relationships with. Knowing what you value is a big part of motivation."
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