"Dave, I have the answer for you!" shouted my wife Carrie.
It was the second week of December, and I was trying to get a head start on my New Year's Resolution to lose 50 pounds. (Yes, I've been through this before. See this.)
Anyway, as my wife obviously knew, I've struggled time and time again with losing weight and keeping it off. So I was a bit cynical, but optimistic, when she shared DietBet.
Dietbet is a sweet way to lose weight - way better than typical weight loss programs, because just as the name indicates, you have to bet on yourself and risk losing real money if you can't follow through and achieve your goals.
I love gambling, and winning, so I quickly signed up for pretty much every DietBet on the site. I was really excited to write about it but I wanted to wait until I had some actual results to share, so here goes:
In 6 weeks, I've:
- Made 9 DietBets
- Won 3 DietBets (6 haven't been finalized yet as there's more time left)
- Won $426.46
- Most important, lost 19 pounds!
I've got a ways to go, and then of course the real challenge is to keep the weight off. Luckily, there's a Maintenance Dietbet too! So, I've got my solution, or at I think so, for how to keep at my biggest personal challenge.
What about you? How good are you at sticking to personal and professional resolutions. It's the time of the year, a few weeks into January, where most people begin to abandon their New Year's Resolutions.
And since you can't always bet on your ability to keep a resolution, I thought I'd ask for some other ideas. I turned to my friends at the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
I asked them, "How Do YOU Actually Keep a New Year's Resolution. Really?!"
This is what they shared:
1. Make New Year's Outcomes
So many people set goals and resolutions that they never will achieve. Start thinking in terms of outcomes, and when you set a large outcome think of all the small outcomes that you will need to achieve to reach the final one. If you can change these words in your mind, I promise, you will become a stronger person than ever before.
2. Put Baby Steps Into Action
Many big-picture goals seem intimidating, unreachable and abstract. That's why I make sure to break my resolutions into mini-goals. For instance, instead of doubling my audience (which is akin to climbing Mount Everest), I'd set a goal of acquiring three viewers a week. This also gives you motivation through the celebration of small wins, rather than holding your breath for a big victory.
3. Don't Let It Out of Your Sight
If you intend to change the way you think about/do work, you can't let it out of your head until it becomes a habit. The goals that you care about need to be posted everywhere you pay attention, whether that means putting Post-it notes on your dashboard or replacing your phone's home screen with it.
4. Share It Socially and Promise Updates
Make it a public resolution with photos and videos of your progress. People will like and comment on your posts, encouraging you to keep going. You won't want to let them down. It can even become competitive this way or turned into a contest with others on social media.
5. Find a Supportive Community
As social animals, a supportive community can reinforce your commitment to your goals. Once people know what you're trying to accomplish, they can hold you accountable for your progress, check in at a time when you may be slacking off, and cheer you on when you're on a roll. There are even online communities that can help with health, fitness, savings and career goals.
6. Organize and Integrate
When you say something grandiose like "I’m going to get in shape," you have to take steps to make that happen. If you look at the whole goal, it’s too big or too hard. Divide it into small steps that you can do every day. The end goal is the big picture, but you have to make small changes in every part of your life in order to make that bigger thing happen.
-Ashley Ferraro, Dona Jo, Inc.
7. Hire a Coach
Without accountability, goals are really hard to keep. The bad news is that most of us are horrible at being accountable to ourselves. It's not really our fault -- it's just how we are wired as humans. So if we want to actually keep a resolution, we can hire someone to make ourselves accountable to, like a business or life coach who knows how to keep us on track and successful.
8. Call It Anything But a Resolution
For the most part, people give up on resolutions after a couple of weeks. They don't have a positive connotation. So I prefer to call them something else, like goals, dreams or aspirations. These words have a more powerful meaning when you say them and will impact people to stay motivated when things don't go as planned. It feels good when you say, "I'm working on my dream!"
9. Adopt a "Treat Yourself" Mentality
Set incentives (perhaps weekly or monthly) as you complete your list of resolutions. You can also have your friends, family and coworkers hold you accountable. For instance, you might inform the office that if your resolution is completed by [insert date], you'll take your team out to dinner. Give everyone something to look forward to, and you'll never lose the inspiration to complete a goal.
10. Set Simple Reminders
I am terrible at keeping New Year's resolutions. At least, I was. In 2014 I picked an objectively achievable goal and then started wearing a rubber band on my wrist. It was a constant, sometimes annoying, reminder that I wanted to improve myself. It resulted in a long-term positive change in my habits. I did the same in 2015 and in 2016 I upgraded to a smartwatch that accomplishes the same thing.
Now it's your turn! How about YOU? How are you doing doing on your New Year's Resolutions? How do you stick to your goals and challenges? Do you think betting money on yourself would work?
Originally published on Linkedin Pulse.
About Dave Kerpen