The halfway mark of a year can be quite sobering. Suddenly you find yourself having flashbacks to that day in December when you made your New Year’s Resolutions, and wondering “How is it summer already?”
The truth is, it’s tough to set resolutions, and even harder to actually keep them. In fact, New Years Resolution Statistics indicate that only about 9% of people feel they’ve been successful in achieving their resolutions. Why? The simple answer to that question is stress. However, there’s a deeper explanation for how stress affects our follow-through.
Clinical psychologist Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D., explains that when we attempt to disrupt regular behavior, i.e. endeavor to enact a resolution, that disruption inevitably causes stress. Often, the stress of trying to change old habits leads to resolution abandonment. He shares that “whether you’re feeling anxious, depressed, frustrated, fatigued, weak and out of control, or simply bored, emotional friction (stress) becomes the high-octane fuel of failure.” In other words, stress contributes to failure, more often than not.
But if stress leads to failure, then the cure to failed resolutions also lies therein—eliminate stress. Easier said than done? You’re probably right; however, there are a few things you can start doing right now to manage the stress that arises from trying disrupt your own status quo. So now that June is upon us, it’s time to break into the 9% who are succeeding with their resolutions. And here are 3 Mid-Year Resolutions to get you on track and keep you there.
Celebrate Mini Milestones
Don’t wait until you land that big contact or partnership to celebrate your hard work! Did you put together an awesome presentation? Or perhaps save time and money on a project? You deserve recognition. After all, small milestones are still milestones. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Positively acknowledging small and seemingly mediocre benchmarks increases your likelihood of achieving larger, more intimidating goals. According to University of Michigan psychologist Karl Weick, breaking large milestones into smaller, more attainable steps “reduces fear, clarifies direction, and increases the probability of early successful outcomes–boosting support for further action.”
Conscious recognition of mini milestones can play a big role in your overall quest for self-improvement. So take time to celebrate those small wins, and get the motivational boost you need to propel you towards the next milestone, no matter its size.
Demolish Digital Clutter
Summer is almost here, but you may not be done Spring Cleaning yet. If one of your New Year Resolutions was to get organized in your business bookkeeping, make a Mid-Year Resolution to demolish your digital clutter. It’s time to let go of the unused files, documents and photos that are hogging your computer’s hard drive and sending your stress level into overdrive.
Like physical clutter, digital clutter increases stress by affecting your ability to focus and perform the tasks at hand. Mikael Cho, founder and CEO of industry-leading photography community Unsplash is familiar with the concept of digital clutter and its impact on the brain. He believes that the hyper-connectedness of tech does more than negatively affect productivity; it also blocks creative flow. Constant inundation with information can have serious consequences: “Your brain has too much on its plate, it splits its power up. The result? You become awful at filtering information, switching quickly between tasks, keeping a strong working memory.”
Not sure where to start? Treat your digital clutter like physical clutter and simplify the excess. Keep what you need and toss the rest; your laptop and your brain will thank you.
Even the most determined entrepreneurs and business people have a breaking point. Instead of pushing yourself to discover what that might be, take a moment each night to disconnect from both technology and the endless workload. While portable devices and Wi-Fi have made it convenient to work anytime and from virtually anywhere, taking work home can dramatically increase stress levels and make one of the most popular new year resolutions—getting healthy—even more difficult.
It takes discipline to shut the computer down or leave your tablet in the other room, but staying connected to work for prolonged periods can do serious harm to your health. According to research, the inability to disconnect from work is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, among other health problems. It’s time to take disconnecting a bit more seriously; after all, you will need all the mental strength you can get in order to keep plugging away at those resolutions.
Consider the benefits of stress reduction to your health, well-being, and goal achievement. Take time to celebrate the small victories, conquer digital clutter, and unplug from work and Wi-Fi regularly, you may find yourself celebrating bigger wins come next January.