It’s hard to believe that in just a few short days, a New Year will be upon us. And although for most, the weather is cold and the days are short, each New Year seems to bring the promise of a fresh start. Have you already thought about it? Will you be making a resolution? Or do you wonder what’s the point?
What will you do with this fresh start – your new chance of achieving something that has been elusive until now? Maybe you’d like to lose weight, improve your fitness, foster deeper faith, become organized, start or finish that degree you’ve always wanted… or maybe it’s something totally different.
Regardless of what change might be stirring you as you look to 2014, you can improve your chance of success if you understand why so many resolutions fail. Some bleak statistics say that only 5% of resolutions will make it until next New Year’s Eve. While other surveys say that nearly 25% won’t last one week.
Why do so many resolutions fail? Here are a few common reasons:
1. The resolution is too lofty and too hard to measure.
A popular resolution is “to get fit” or “be more active.” But, what do those really mean? How would you know if you were successful? Instead try creating a clear measurable goal such as planning to incorporate exercise 3 to 4 times a week for 30 minutes or more. Your goal needs to be both achievable and measurable so that it is possible to reach and you will know when you’ve succeeded or if you still need to make adjustments.
2. The resolution isn’t written down.
Simply thinking about a goal isn’t enough – write it down. Put your written goal somewhere that you will see it often – on your mirror, on your refrigerator, on you computer or phone’s background. Writing the resolution down helps solidify your commitment to the change you’re seeking.
“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” Brian Tracy
3. You go about this resolution the exact same way you have in the past.
If you’ve had the same resolution in previous years and have been unsuccessful, change your approach. Do something differently. Establish milestones or mini-goals for your larger change and celebrate your successes along the way.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
4. The “why” isn’t remembered.
Too often why a resolution is chosen is forgotten. Take time to write down why you chose your resolution this year. If you think about the “why” behind the resolution, you are more likely to find the strength to push past obstacles while maintaining your focus on difficult days. It’s often that’s just the boost you need to reassure yourself and continue on your journey. Consider writing yourself a letter to read and re-read when you feel discouraged. In the letter talk to yourself candidly about why this change is so important.
5. The resolution is kept a secret.
Resolutions that are kept a secret are more likely to fail. Find a friend or family member to help you be accountable. Share your resolution. Make sure it is someone who will encourage you when your motivation wanes. Be honest with this individual about your progress as well as when you are struggling to keep your resolution. Welcome their feedback and encouragement throughout the year.
When you make your resolution for 2014, be sure to use a few of these tips to increase your likelihood of success!
Are you making a resolution? If so, what is it? I’d love to hear from you!
Happy New Year!