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Last Updated on December 28, 2020

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. 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 with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

Featured photo credit: nine koepfer via unsplash.com

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Published on January 14, 2021

What Is An Action Plan And Why Is it Important?

What Is An Action Plan And Why Is it Important?

All of us have goals we want to accomplish in life. Maybe you want to do your taxes yourself for the first time or lose weight. You may also have a really big goal, such as starting a successful business or remodeling your kitchen. But to achieve your goals efficiently and effectively, you must have an action plan. An action plan is a tool that lists the tasks you need to finish to achieve your goal by a certain date.

The length and complexity of your action plan will depend on the complexity of your goal. If you just want to change your oil, your action plan can be a simple, half-page document. On the other hand, if you want to build that new kitchen, your action plan will consist of many pages and will likely have diagrams and drawings.

In this article, I’ll explain why an action plan is important and how to create one to help you achieve your goals.

Why Is an Action Plan Important?

An action plan is critical in accomplishing goals because it will help you stay motivated and ensure that you’re on track to complete your goal in a reasonable amount of time.

Have you ever planned to do something but procrastinated? Having an organized action plan will help you overcome procrastination by keeping you motivated with a visual map of exactly what you need to do and when you need to complete each task. It’s easy to put off that big project when you don’t have a solid plan to get it done.

You may lose motivation because it feels overwhelming. But after you create an action plan, you may find that you aren’t overwhelmed anymore because all of the tasks are laid out in an organized, step-by-step manner.

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The action plan will help you monitor your progress. You’ll have an official start and end date, and you’ll know approximately how long it will take to finish each step. It can also help ensure that you’re staying within a certain budget and if you need to make adjustments to your time or resources.

How to Create an Action Plan

Here are the 6 steps you should follow in creating an action plan.

1. Define Your Goal

If you want to create an action plan, you first need to know your goal. To do this effectively, make sure you create a SMART goal, which must be:

  • Specific – you must clearly identify the goal. An example is weight loss.
  • Measurable – define the metrics or measures you’ll use to make sure you’ve completed the goal. An example is “I want to lose 70 pounds.”
  • Attainable – make sure your goal is realistic. Losing 70 pounds in two months isn’t attainable, but losing 70 pounds in 7 months is something you can do.
  • Relevant – make sure the goal is very important to you. This is a critical part of the process. Why are you doing this? Why is it important to you? Make sure your goal is aligned with your values and is authentic to you. Don’t do something just because of peer pressure or because of a reason that conflicts with your core values.
  • Time-bound – you must have a specific start and end date. If your goal has a lot of steps, you’ll also want to know how long each step will take.

In our weight loss example, the goal can be: “I want to lose 70 pounds in 7 months because I want to be in good physical and mental health. I want more energy and I want to set a good example for my kids. I want them to know that health is very important.”

2. Pick a Tool to Create Your Action Plan

The tool you use to create your action plan will depend on the complexity of your plan. If you have a large, complicated plan, you may need specialized software to aid you.

Most action plans can be done with readily available software, such as Microsoft Excel or Word. I use Excel or Word for all of my action plans. A very simple action plan can even be written on a piece of paper.

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3. List and Weigh Your Options

Now that you have your goal, list all of your options and the costs and benefits of each one. Continuing with our dieting example, you’d research the different dieting options and then list the pros and cons of each one.

Maybe the Mediterranean diet is the best one for you. Perhaps the keto diet would work well. Or maybe you want to create your custom diet. If necessary, get help from experts in the area in which you’re doing research.

4. Define Your Budget and Identify Resources

Not all goals require a defined budget, but many do. Define your budget up front. Then, identify the resources you need to complete each step of the plan.

The main resources you will need to achieve your goals are time, money, people, and technology. There may be certain technologies you want to use, but you don’t have enough money to buy them. If you have more money, you can buy more technology and hire more people to help you complete certain steps, which decreases the amount of time it will take to finish your project.

If you have fewer resources, it will take more time to reach your end date. Find the ideal balance for your goal.

5. List the Steps You Need to Take

Just like what I did in this article, you should list the steps you need to take in your action plan.

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First, create a detailed, prioritized list of steps you must take to achieve your goal. Start with the very first step and end with the last one. Some steps will involve a series of other steps. Finding a good nutrition specialist may involve doing internet research, checking your current health plan for nutrition specialists, and talking to friends to see if they have specialists they can recommend to you.

Next, make sure you document all of the steps and, if applicable, all sub-steps involved in achieving your goal. Also indicate who is responsible for performing the steps, if necessary. And include what tools, technologies, and other things you need to finish the steps, along with the price of these things.

Then, ensure that you’re operating within your budget.

Finally, Document how long it will take to finish each step. If you have people helping you, make sure you work with them to determine exactly how long it will take to finish each step.

6. Monitor and Adjust Your Plan

Once you execute your plan, you have to closely monitor and adjust it to make sure you’re staying within your budget and that you’re completing each task on time. If some things cost more than your original estimates, you may have to use more economical options. Another way to cut costs is to learn how to do more tasks yourself instead of hiring others to do them.

I saved a lot of money creating my website for my life/business coaching and speaking website. You have to make sure you have enough time to learn new skills and technologies, which can sometimes require a big-time investment.

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You may find that some tasks will take less or more time than you first estimated, so you’ll have to adjust your timeline as needed.

Final Thoughts

Creating an action plan gives you a clear direction. It’s a visual guide that will help you achieve your goals in an effective and timely manner.

A well-crafted action plan will help you stay motivated and committed to your goal. It will allow you to track your progress and make adjustments that will keep you moving toward that very important goal.

Always remember to start with a strong “why.” Make sure your end goal is something that’s aligned with your values and who you are. A lot of people procrastinate or fail to achieve their goals because they don’t have a strong reason to achieve them.

Your action plan will help you achieve those goals and when you’re done, you’ll feel extremely proud.

More Tips on How to Create an Action Plan

Featured photo credit: ConvertKit via unsplash.com

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