Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail And How To Succeed In Goal Setting
Three weeks into the New Year and here I am typing up my first post of the year! For some writers, an absolute no-no! Unheard of. Three weeks without writing a single sentence??? Especially at the start of a new year when you should be motivated, inspired, energized, all that good stuff. No wonder why new year’s resolutions fail!
Hold on – I can explain.
From great food at Thanksgiving, presents at Christmas, plus the fireworks that brought us into the New Year- the excitement over the past few months came to a screeching halt on January 2nd.
The holiday bubble burst and I was tossed back to reality! Ugh.
The work I had pushed aside now sat there waiting for me. I ignored it for another few days because I just couldn’t. Something was holding me back. I was not motivated or able.
What was wrong with me? Everyone else was talking about their “word of the year”. The one word they had chosen that was destined to make 2017 the best and most productive year ever!
I read many articles with New Year’s resolution ideas. On weight loss, productivity, relationships, travel, friendships, family.
You name it, I read it.
But you know what I realised? All these new year resolutions were bound to fail! Yup. Every single one of them. Here’s why.
The articles were giving great suggestions. However, the way they suggested approaching goals and resolutions was completely off.
They all had the same mantra. Achieve success by starting anew. The “fresh start effect.”
Just because we have a new calendar year, do we honestly need to start everything over?
I understand letting go of the things you no longer like or want in your life. Yes, let all those things go. What about the things in your life you want to keep? The things you can build on that you like, in order to refine what you are already doing.
You want to move forwards not backwards right? That’s why I say don’t start over. Build and grow instead.
Let me break this down for you into smaller, clearer points.
Here Are The 5 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
1. You Are Lacking Motivation Or Commitment
Most resolutions made do not make it past January. The ones that make it into February are usually forgotten by March.
Why? Lack of commitment. It is easy to be motivated. Maintaining motivation requires commitment. Without it, your initial motivation and energy to get your resolution going will dwindle. And fast!
Do you know anyone who has made the same resolutions each year but never manages to stick to them? Have you done the same?
Don’t feel bad, you may have the right intentions, you just need a little help in committing. I will explain this a little further into the post.
2. You Are A Master Of Procrastination
You have had an entire year to make changes in your life. Every single day has presented a new opportunity for you to change.
That didn’t deter you from pushing that opportunity away, making excuses as to why it is not the right time.
I guess January 1st just seemed to be like the perfect day to start right?
Have you ever told yourself that you just “didn’t have the time” to do one thing or another? What I have learned is, saying you don’t have the time means that it is not a priority.
I’ll give you an example.
You come home from work, walk into the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich. Finish eating and toss the plate into the sink which is piled up with all the other ones from yesterday. You know you need to do the dishes but Scandal is starting in 20 minutes on TV and it is the season finale!
It will take you 10 minutes to do the dishes but you tell yourself “you don’t have the time.” So you ignore the dishes, check your Facebook notifications, upload a picture to Instagram, Tweet about Scandal and the 20 minutes are up.
Ok, how about this scenario?
You toss the sandwich in the kitchen sink, and right there on the kitchen counter, a genie appears out of nowhere. Offers you 10,000 Euros/dollars if you agree to do the dishes before watching TV.
HA! I see you rolling up your sleeves, turning the tap on. What? Are those two plates and dishwashing liquid in your hand?
You see how that quickly became a priority and you suddenly do have enough time?
The same works for when you want to plan your goals. Only set goals you are really interested in meeting.
Prioritize your time and tackle the things you can you reasonably achieve in the timeframe you have set for yourself. Be it a month, a season, or a year.
3. You Have The Oliver Twist Syndrome
New Year’s resolutions fail because people are constantly wanting more. It is our nature. Creating a ton of goals will get you nowhere.
Setting goals means you are trying to achieve something you do not already have. Aspiring for something in the future. If you don’t plan the right way your new year’s resolution won’t work, which in turn can affect your self-confidence and self-esteem.
You end up beating yourself up and feeling bad for not achieving your goals. They key here is the focus.
Say you have TEN goals you want to achieve by December 31st, but you know realistically, you can only achieve five if you are lucky. Which five do you keep? Which five do you let go?
Think about it – so now you have five goals, cut them down to three.
Good. Look at your list of three goals. What timeline will you set for them?
It is human nature to want more as soon as you have received or achieved something you want.
This works out well for a goal setting scenario because you can divide the timeline of reaching your goals over shorter periods of time.
Break your main goal into sub-goals. When you create a timeline, you take your goal from something that will happen in the future and move it into the present.
A timeline subconsciously creates a commitment to meet your goal. Reward yourself for each success.
Fret no more! I have something special just for you to get you started.
A goal setting guide which includes a goal planner, daily agenda (three different formats), and a weekly planner PLUS some excellent information on how to set and keep your goals.
4. Resolution Adoption
One of the biggest reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail is that the resolutions are based on the expectations of others. If you are making resolutions based on what others think you should be doing, you are setting yourself up for failure.
What have your family and friends been whispering into your ear?
Stop smoking? Start exercising? Quit drinking? Cut sugar out of your diet?
All great ideas and suggestions. They love you and want you to live the best life possible, they mean well – I get it.
Don’t set goals for yourself by looking at other people’s expectations or by reading a magazine that tells you how to ‘get fit,” “get thin,” or do anything else.
The more you are aware of and understand the reasons why you are doing something, the higher success rate you will have at accomplishing your goal.
Reason why New Year’s resolutions fail at such a high rate? They are not coming from your heart.
5. You Don’t Believe In Yourself
If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth.
Get rid of that voice by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Defeat doubt and begin believing in yourself. Really trust that you can do it.
Use These Tips To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Work
- Write down your goals
- Break a large goal into smaller achievable parts
- Track your progress daily
- Make it public
- Create routines that support your goals
- Tell friends and family about it
- Be accountable
Make the commitment and success will be yours.
Have you made New Year’s resolutions and ended up not sticking to them? Thought about why New Year’s resolutions fail one year after the other? Were you able to identify the reasons you were unable to meet your goals?
Please share your experiences with me in the comments section below.
Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/search/write?photo=s9CC2SKySJM via unsplash.com