It’s the start of the New Year and I know what you’re thinking. This is going to be the year I finally follow through on my New Year’s resolutions. This is the year I get serious about accomplishing _______________ (you fill in the blank). Do you want to lose weight, save more money, get out of debt, exercise more, spend more time with family, or get a new job? Those are goals with good intentions, yet why is it that only a few of us keep our resolutions? According to various reports, nearly half of us make New Year’s resolutions but less than 10 percent of us accomplish the goal. The question is: Why?
If you plan to make a resolution, you first need to understand why you want to accomplish the goal. Ask yourself, how is achieving this goal going to make me a better me? Once you determine the why, create a plan and have a system to execute. The desire to achieve the goal is not enough to carry you through the finish line. You must have an action plan.
Let’s take a look at why resolutions fail and learn how to make resolutions you can keep.
1. They are unrealistic.
Setting unrealistic, highly aspirational goals is a quick way to fail. Put thought into your resolution – eh hem; don’t come up with your resolution during the countdown to the New Year. Focus on a few, not many, and make sure you have a way to measure it. If your resolution is to go to the gym 5x per week but you have only gone to the gym 5x this entire year, reevaluate the goal. Start off with having a goal of going to the gym 2x per week and increase it by a day each month until you reach 5x per week. The more manageable the goal, the more likely you are to succeed.
2. We have too many resolutions.
Less is more when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Focusing on too many resolutions will leave you frustrated and can cause you to give up too easily. Besides, who can keep track of so many resolutions when we have many competing priorities in our lives? Choose one attainable goal, or a few, and keep track of your progress. Setting small goals along the way can give you victories to keep you motivated.
3. We procrastinate because we don’t really want to change.
Procrastination is one of our worst enemies. I am guilty! Everyone wants to do better, be better, and get better – or at least should want to – but few want to commit to the hard work and discipline it will take to accomplish the goal. It’s not hard to make the change. The hard part is getting started and maintaining the change over the long-term. Sometimes, we think it’s easier to keep doing what we are doing but that could be detrimental to progress. Change requires daily, consistent commitment and the sooner you get started, the sooner you will see results. Make the commitment to fight through, no matter how many times you stumble. Change requires doing things that others won’t or can’t do.
4. We don’t believe in ourselves.
This is sad, but true. We tend to not have faith in our own abilities and beat ourselves up for slipping up every now and again. Don’t punish yourself too much. Instead, give yourself a break and congratulate yourself on making progress towards your goals. Small progress is still progress. If your goal is to read for one hour before bedtime each night and you only had time to read for 30 minutes, that’s 30 minutes more than if you didn’t open the book. We tend to be able to have compassion for others, especially around the holidays, so learn to be compassionate with yourself.
5. We don’t share.
Why keep your resolution to yourself? Get an accountability partner and surround yourself with people who will support you and motivate you to do better. If you want to save more money in the New Year, have a friend, relative or co-worker on speed dial for the next time you are shopping and just have to have the item………. because it’s on sale!
At the beginning of 2015, I made a resolution to attempt to write down what I am grateful for each day. And, as good as the intention was, my last entry was May 20, 2015. Perhaps my goal should have been to write in my journal the things I am grateful for at least once a week. I may have had better luck accomplishing my goal. I am grateful for many things, and the ability to share with you is one of them. Perhaps, I’ll try that goal again this New Year.
Congratulations on wanting to make a positive change in your life! Change can be difficult but it’s not impossible. You can’t change your behavior in a week, or even a month. Give yourself time and remember small progress is still progress.
Wishing you a wonderful and prosperous 2016 and success with your New Year’s resolutions!