New Year's resolutions are generally a waste of time.
You'll start out with a noble goal like losing weight, and then by February you're eating a carton of chocolate ice cream and using the treadmill as a closet. In fact, according to one survey, only 8% of us actually keep our resolutions.
Why is everyone so bad at this? Well, there are 5 reasons why people fail at bettering themselves in the new year. If we analyze these problems and focus on results-based methods for achieving our goals, there is a much greater chance for success.
Reasons we fail at New Year's resolutions:
- We don't really have a plan
- Unrealistic goals and expectations
- Time management
- We give up too easily
- We try to do everything by ourselves
People set themselves up for failure right off the bat. No matter your good intentions, you're unlikely to achieve any level of success if you commit to a resolution without putting a plan in place to keep it. So write down a detailed description of what your goals are, and how you plan to accomplish them. If you're looking to get healthier, make a plan. Schedule a visit with your doctor and ask about what steps you can take to reach your goals.
Don't kid yourself. You're not really going to lose that much weight, are you? Just like you're not climbing Mt. Everest or winning the Boston Marathon. But just because you can't do something big doesn't mean you can't do something worthwhile. Take something like eating breakfast. It's an important thing to do every day for your physical health, and it can have a substantial impact on your performance throughout the day. Yet a lot of people skip it, or don't eat a proper meal. This small (and realistic!) change in your life can make a big difference.
You can't do everything in one day, so don't try. It'll just be discouraging, and then you're more likely to quit. Life can be busy, and a lot of resolutions require a big-time commitment. How do we handle it? Break it down and make it more manageable. Make a daily habit, like going to bed at a certain time. It's good for your body to have a regular sleep schedule. Plus doing something small every day is a good way to complete long term resolutions.
This one should go without saying. We're weak, we slip up, we forget about things. It happens. All too often this leads us to throw out the resolution altogether. To combat this, set benchmarks throughout the year that you need to hit. Like a progress report on how you're doing. Take quitting smoking or drinking, for example. After each month, you could resolve to use a certain amount less than the month before. By pacing yourself and hitting these smaller objectives, you can reach your goal at the end of the year.
We like to think of them as "our" resolutions, and so we must summon our inner strength and go through them alone. Not only is that false, but it can actually make it harder for you to achieve your goals. It's important to include some outside support—someone who will hold you accountable. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you to do more. You can even set up a regular time to chat with them about your progress. There is always strength in numbers.