Here we are at the close of another year. For many, the New Year signifies a sort of “rebirth”…a time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t the past year, and to “start fresh” on January 1st.
While I think this is healthy for the most part, so many end up failing in their resolutions and end up either the same or worse than they were the prior year.
Let’s NOT do that this time! Realizing why resolutions fail and how you can avoid that is paramount to success. Below are why I think most resolutions fail, and how we can (finally) make them stick, once and for all.
- Changing too many things at once: tell me if this sounds familiar – Oh my gosh…starting January 2nd, I’m going to be in the gym every single day at 5am for an hour AND I’m COMPLETELY cutting out carbs/sugar/wine/coffee (pick your poison) AND I’m going to get 8 hours sleep per night AND I’m going to be the most organized person EVER!!Whoa…hold on there, little pony!! How realistic is it that one could successfully master ALL of those things long-term without feeling overwhelmed?A better approach might be to pick one or two of those things and create a resolution that is both attainable and realistic.
How about this: I resolve to move my body at least 3 days per week for 20-30 minutes at a time. I will also focus on clean, pure foods 80-90% of the time.
Do you think you might be able to stick to those very positive, very doable changes? In the process, you just might find the other things falling into place as you focus more on attainable outcomes.
- Unrealistic expectations/goals: this one goes hand-in-hand with the above. Things like resolving to run a marathon when you’ve never run the first mile (or you hate running); or putting an unrealistic number on a fat loss goal.While I definitely like to “dream big”, I also understand that being realistic on certain things is necessary. If goals are too lofty and broad, then the negative self-talk can take over as you realize you just cannot achieve them, and you end up doing nothing at all.Perhaps a better approach would be to create goals that are challenging, and create them in manageable “chunks”; i.e., daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. And celebrate each “win” along the way, no matter how big or small.
So, if your eventual goal is to do a marathon, make your first goal to run a mile without stopping, and then build upon that.
- Lack of accountability/support: I think we all realize how important it is to be supported in our goals. Having an accountability partner or group is a great way to stay focused and on-track. Knowing that we are accountable to someone else also makes it not “all about us” – if we don’t do what we say we’re going to, then it not only affects us, but our partner/group as well. So, partner up with someone who has like-minded goals and check-in with them frequently.
- Loss of enthusiasm as time goes on: it is inevitable that the January 1st sparkle will wear off as time goes on, so you have to keep polishing and revisiting those goals to keep them shiny and interesting. If your goal is to move more, then change your workouts up frequently. If you want to eat healthier, then realize there is more to clean eating than chicken and broccoli. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to modify your goals as you go along.
- Giving up when you hit a snag: the best-laid plans sometimes fail. And that’s ok! Too often we just give up when something isn’t working or we make a mistake. If we can learn to look at mistakes as detours and lessons instead of obstacles, then there are no failures. When you hit a bump, get up, dust yourself off, and take another path. If you are truly committed to something, then the largest obstacle can do nothing to sway you. If you are just kinda-sorta-maybe committed, then the slightest little thing can knock you down. It’s your choice.
- Lack of focus and vision: we all get sidetracked. Life happens. You must get very clear on your vision of what you want, and you must focus on it every single day without fail. Whether it’s meditating on it first thing in the morning, or having a vision board posted somewhere that you can see it frequently during the day – whatever works for you. Maintaining the vision and keeping it in the forefront of your mind is imperative, because when Life throws a curve ball (and it will), you can use that vision to stay the course.I review my goals frequently throughout the day. I have them written down in a notebook that I keep with me all the time. I recite them silently to myself probably 1000 times each day, and I don’t stop even when I’m just not feeling it. It really helps to keep my mind “at home” and focused on the bigger picture.
So who’s ready to make things stick in 2014? Let’s rock and roll and make it the best year yet! Need some help with this? Check out our 90 Day Simplify Your Resolution Program. Complete this form to learn more.