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After I Read This, I Strongly Believe That I Can Achieve My New Year’s Resolution This Time

After I Read This, I Strongly Believe That I Can Achieve My New Year’s Resolution This Time

The ball drops in Times Square.

Fireworks go off across the world.

Someone asks you about your New Year’s resolution, and as you blurt out your response, you quietly realize it’s the same resolution you set for yourself last year.

And the year before last.

And the year before last year, too.

Ouch! Why is it that achieving a New Year’s resolution is so hard?

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Well, first of all, before you start feeling bad for yourself, know that if you didn’t achieve the New Year’s resolution you set for yourself last year, or in previous years, you’re not alone. Some research shows that only 8% of people who set their resolutions actually achieve them.

Now, some experts will tell you that you achieving a resolution is hard because it’s easier to set smaller goals and work toward them daily.  Well, I’m not gonna argue with that, daily improvement is something we should all work toward.  But it’s a load of…well, you know what…to think that we shouldn’t set big goals every year and then come up with a plan to achieve them.

After all, man’s greatest achievements come from setting big goals and then working on them day in, day out, until the goal is realized.

There’s lots of things you can do to increase the chances that you’ll achieve the resolution you set for yourself, or any goal for that matter. But there’s also things you’ve probably been doing that you don’t even realize, keeps you from fulfilling your New Year’s resolution.

Here’s 7 reasons people don’t achieve their new year’s resolution. Avoid these at all costs if you want to accomplish your big goal this year.

1. They don’t really want to achieve it

If you’ve had a goal you’ve sort-of-wanted to achieve for years, but haven’t made much progress on it yet, ask yourself how bad you want to achieve it.  Achieving a big goal requires dedication, hard work, and discipline. If you don’t want to achieve it with every ounce of your being, it’s not likely you’re going to put in the time and effort needed to achieve it.

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So if you want to achieve a big goal, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about, and something you’re ready to put your heart and soul into.

2. They don’t set it, the right way

Most people set goals the wrong way. If your resolution over the years was something like “be healthier” or “make more money” or “have more energy,” you’ve set yourself up for failure.

Goals need to be structured correctly so that you’ll be able to:

  • create a specific plan
  • understand clearly whether you’re making the progress you need to get to your goal
  • know exactly when you’ve achieved it

One way to do this is to use the acronym SMART to set your resolution. Make it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

If you’ve been frustrated because you haven’t made progress on a goal, or resolution, you set for yourself in the past, and your goal wasn’t ‘SMART,’ go back to the beginning and structure your goal the right way. Skip this step at your own peril.

3. They don’t create a plan

While life would be a whole lot easier if we could just ask a genie in a bottle to grant us our wishes, life doesn’t work that way.

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In order to achieve your resolution, you’ll want to set a concrete plan of action that will guide you to your goal. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or rigid, but it does need to have set steps you can take that will get you in the right direction.

4. They don’t track their progress

New Year’s resolutions aren’t meant to be set in January and reviewed again in December. Nope, if you want to achieve your resolution, you’ll want to track your progress throughout the year so you’ll know whether you’re on target to achieve your goal.

It’s a good idea to set up daily, weekly and monthly tracking so you’ll see whether you’re on target to achieve your resolution, or whether you need to adjust your plan.

5. They don’t adjust their plan

Tracking your progress is pointless unless you adjust your plan so you’ll make the progress you need. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year, and you’ve only lost 5 pounds after 3 months, it’s time to adjust your plan…otherwise you’re going to fall short of your big goal.

6. They make excuses

“I hurt my knee so I couldn’t exercise”.

“My boss promoted someone else, so I couldn’t make any more money.”

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“I would quit smoking if I wasn’t so stressed”.

We all make excuses. Heck, making excuses is the easy thing to do when we’re falling short of our target. But excuses are toxic on our path to achieving our goals.

If you want to achieve your resolution, kick excuses to the curb. Instead of telling yourself why you’re not making the progress you should be making, ask yourself how you can get to your goal faster.

Your brain is a brilliant machine and you’ll get the right answer no matter what question you ask it. Make sure you’re asking the right questions.

7. They don’t believe they can achieve it

Belief is a funny thing. Give two similar people the same goal, and it’s the person who believes they can achieve it, who will.  If you don’t believe you’ll achieve your resolution, no advice or tools are going to help you.

But if you do believe in yourself, and that you’ll achieve your New Year’s resolution, there’s nothing that can stop you.

So, Happy New Year and here’s to achieving the goals you set for yourself in 2014!

More by this author

Dan Cassidy

Dan is the CEO & Founder of Inspiyr, aspiring to help people live a happy and successful life.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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