Most people think of the beginning of a new year as a fresh start. An opportunity to set new goals and change your behavior. Nice idea – but don’t fall for it. When it comes to making a fresh start, it isn’t about a date or place. It’s about changing your mindset.

As humans, we are creatures of habit and we don’t like change. That’s why the odds of meeting your new year’s resolutions are dismal at best.

An estimated 188.9 million adult Americans (74% of the population) say they’re determined to learn something new, make a lifestyle change or set a personal goal in an effort to better themselves in 2021. However, only about 13% of adults with resolutions think it’s possible to actually complete their resolution goals.

source: Finder Survey (finder.com)

If you’ve ever been to a gym in the first week of January, you’ve witnessed the great migration of new year resolution makers. You’ve probably also seen that crowd thin by mid-February, and then be pretty much back to the same numbers by March.

It’s not about setting the goal. It’s about your mindset around your goal. If you don’t change your thinking, you won’t change your habits.

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

We like what’s comfortable. Part of the challenge of changing our mindset to be open to new things and stick with them is that we are creatures of habit and will naturally lean toward what’s comfortable. A nice Netflix binge sounds way more comfy than a run. That’s why you have to repeat things more than once and make them a habit – even when you don’t feel like it.

What’s a Growth Mindset?

A growth mindset is a belief you can change your talents, abilities, and even intelligence. Conversely, those with a set or fixed mindset do not believe you will ultimately change. Decades of research have found that those with a growth mindset are more mentally primed to approach and take on challenges and be successful.

source: Carol Dweck

Ready to give some growth mindset tips a try?

1. Retrain your brain

Create a practice of noticing at least three changes a day that has had a positive effect on you. By making the effort to recognize the positive effects of even small change, you’ll start to switch from a set or “fixed” mindset to retraining your brain to see change as an opportunity for growth.

2. Use positive affirmations

Write down words of encouragement and put them where you can see them. “You’ve got this” – “No pain, no gain” – “Time for a stretch!” — can help keep a positive attitude about yourself. Smile when you see them. That will help you stay in a positive and growth mindset.

3. Be grateful

Practice daily gratitude to remind you of everything going well in your life and set the tone for the day. Start making gratitude a habit. Your success in this area will be a gamechanger for your overall mindset.

4. Reset when necessary

Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up or talk down to yourself. If you lose momentum or find yourself straying back to your comfort zone, stay positive, visit your affirmations, and give yourself some grace. Start each day/hour fresh. Talk nice to yourself and be kind. It will make all the difference.

5. Find an accountability buddy

You don’t have to conquer your mindset alone. It’s a lot easier to make an effort to show up or do something if you have a partner who is doing the same, counting on you, and is there to support you on good days and bad. Reach out to a friend or someone with a similar goal. I have an accountability buddy that I get on a Zoom call with every Monday to share successes, challenges, and goals with. We encourage each other and help each other to stay on track to meet our weekly goals. It’s made a huge difference for me in developing long-term habits and mindset changes.

6. Focus on your long-term vision

Look beyond today and visualize the long-term future you want for yourself. What do you see after you shift your mindset, do the thing, or meet the goal? Make a vision board, write it down in detail, or just start each day reminding yourself of your long term vision for yourself.

Once you change your mindset, then the real changes in your life happen.


Betty Lochner
 is a human resources consultant, business coach, and trainer in workplace communications. She offers several online courses to help individuals and teams communicate better. She is the author of two books on communication, and a journal, Intentional Gratitude.

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