2015 is into the 3rd month and all the hype and euphoria of New Year resolutions has faded into oblivion. By now, the majority of New Year resolution takers have abandoned their resolutions, and are back to where they were when they started. According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology study of January 26th, 2015, only 8% of people who make resolutions actually achieve them.
So, Why do New Year Resolutions fail?
The timing is just wrong!
- Think about it. January is the worst time to do resolutions. You’ve just come back from the December holidays; you’re probably broke, but definitely exhausted, with very little or no enthusiasm. Of course, there is the excitement of the beginning of the year, but you’re surrounded by a whole lot of other things occupying your mind: Have to go back to work, must make sure the kids are ready and have everything to get back to school…the list is endless.
The resolutions all about what you think you should do
- ‘Quit smoking’, ‘Start exercising’, ‘Eat healthy’, ‘Get out of debt’ are some of the most common New Year resolutions. Although these sound good on the surface, a resolution is typically based on what you think you should be doing, rather than what you really want to be doing.
Resolutions are wish lists
- A ‘loose weight’ resolution is a wish list and its not a goal. It does not have an end state or what you want to have achieved. There’s no absolute certainty of what you want the outcome to look like.
There’s no motivation or commitment
- Most often than not, resolutions are typically based on other people’s expectations, or millions of articles on the subject, for example: ‘how to get back into shape’. Because you’re embarking on something that doesn’t mean anything to you and trying to make it happen, you simply do not have the level of commitment required to make it successful. Initially though, there is a burst of motivation that gets you started, and that’s why the gym is always so full in the first two weeks of the year, but very soon, that motivation starts to disappear. So, that spurt of energy is simply not sustainable.
So? Do things differently
What you need is something more fundamental and more important to you. Living a full life isn’t about making some half-hearted decisions that don’t really mean anything to you. Instead, make choices based on what really matters to you, and then go all out. I mean really, really go all out.
- Do what every successful person does. Plan your life. Not necessarily at the beginning of the year. Its important for you to plan because doing resolutions on 01 January, doesn’t mean that you suddenly thought about them on New Years Eve, yes? The thought did cross your mind before, right? So, do your homework. Take the time you need to thoroughly review and think about what you want in your life, for your life and PLAN it.
- Make sure your plan is tangible by having goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).
- Create a support system by telling your close friends and family about your plan. You’re more likely to get support and you’ll have someone to hold you accountable.
- Always remind yourself of the benefits you will accrue when you achieve your goals. Use a checklist to mark progress of how your life improves every time you achieve something.
- Every time you achieve a milestone within the goal, reward yourself. That alone will give you the motivation to push forward.
Lastly, remember that you are still human. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and avoid trying to be perfect. Expect that from time to time, you will revert back to your old habits and falter on you plan. Treat every setback as temporary instead of using it as an excuse to give up.
My challenge to you? Take control of your life. Period!
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail‘: Alan Lakein