What Ever Happened to Those New Year's Resolutions Anyways?
Well, it’s February 22nd. Almost two full months since the beloved ‘New Years Resolutions’ were made, and most likely forgotten about shortly thereafter. Why is this? Why do so many people continuously set the same resolutions and goals year in and year out yet never experience results? As you read through this post today, take a piece of paper, write down your resolutions from the start of the year and let’s make a plan to conquer them with the 10 months you've got left in 2015!
Why do we fail?
Let’s start with acknowledging the fact that failure is normal and completely okay! We all make mistakes and don't live up to the standards set sometimes, but it becomes a problem when we set the same goals over and over and they aren’t achieved. This then leads us to set the same ones again the next year. Many people fail to accomplish their resolutions because the idea of resolutions are unrealistic in the first place, setting us up for failure! If we only give ourselves one day a year to set goals, we don’t allow ourselves an adequate time to be successful. Then, because we have the one ‘big’ day of resolutions, we tend to set unrealistic goals without a plan to succeed, leading me to the second reason we fail. We set unrealistic goals and kid ourselves into thinking it is possible. For example, the person saying “I want to lose 30 lbs” is the same person who has been sedentary for the last 12 months or more! We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that overnight because it is January 1st we can magically do all that we weren’t able to accomplish in the past 365 days. We always work on the WHAT but never work on the HOW to be successful.
What can we do to change this?
STOP with the resolutions. Reconstruct them into smaller realistic goals that can be measured and attained. Ever heard of the SMART principle of goal setting?
All these 5 words really mean is that goal setting involves just a few extra minutes of our time upfront to ensure that we are successful in achieving them later on. Then, once these goals are in place, sit down with another piece of paper and plan out the HOW.
Here are my quick tips to getting the HOW done:
- Create a blank calendar and fill it in weekly or monthly and plan ahead. Whether your goal is in terms of increasing your daily exercise or eating more meals at home, the calendar allows us to plan ahead and be more organized. If we plan to cook at home, we know the day before we probably have to make time to stop by the grocery store.
- Phone a friend. Enlisting someone else’s help or company always makes things easier. This might mean a new walking buddy or gym partner or perhaps someone to talk to and check in with each week to share your progress with. This will only make you feel better about the results you have achieved and allows you to rethink your plan if you weren’t able to achieve your weekly goals.
- Create a contract for yourself. You can share this with the friend from tip #2 or you can simply post this on your fridge beside the calendar you’ve created from tip #1. The contract will state what your goal is and you will sign it. This allows you to acknowledge the fact that you will put your best foot forward and have an open mind in achieving the goal. Visual aids make us more accountable and remind us that we have set goals because we will constantly be seeing them.
After the initial goal setting is complete, it is all about accountability. We can set up plans, enlist the help of friends, and create contracts to increase our accountability but at the end of the day, your success depends on you. No one will be banging on your door dragging you to the gym on their time, you have to be the person to first make the effort. Then maybe once they are aware, they will come banging. Remember that you are in charge of your life and you have the power to do whatever you choose to with it. This is not meant to scare you off but to excite you and remind you that you can achieve your goals. You’ve got the power, we’ve got the tools. Now, go squash those resolutions!
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.