Why You Suck at Keeping New Year’s Resolutions and What to Do Instead

Did you know that over forty percent (40%) of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions but only eight percent (8%) actually keep them! What are you resolving to do for next year? Is the list long or short? Maybe you want to: Eat better Exercise moreSpend less moneyTake better care of yourselfRead more booksLearn a new […]

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Did you know that over forty percent (40%) of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions but only eight percent (8%) actually keep them! What are you resolving to do for next year? Is the list long or short?

Maybe you want to:

  1. Eat better
  2. Exercise more
  3. Spend less money
  4. Take better care of yourself
  5. Read more books
  6. Learn a new skill
  7. Get a new job
  8. Make new friends
  9. Get a new hobby.
  10. Focus more on your appearance

Let’s be honest. Are you really going to follow through? These are all laudible goals but they’re too generic and they aren’t tied to any particular emotion. The reason you’ll make your resolution and then fail to follow through isn’t because it isn’t something that’s important in your mind it’s because you havent tied it to an outcome and a feeling.

So, don’t make a resolution. Instead, make a plan. Set a goal and tie it to an outcome or purpose not an activity. Then, figure set yourself up for success by mapping out exactly how you will follow through on the plan If you don’t do both of these things you’re wasting your time and energy.

1.Why Do You Want To Reach Your Goal?

No one wants to eat better for the sake of eating better or read more books just to read more books or make new friends just for the hell of it. We do these things because we want an outcome or we want a result.

You want to eat better so you feel better about yourself inside. You want to read more books so you feel enlightened or more knowledgeable so you feel like you’re a more well-rounded person. You want new friends so you are more social which in turn makes you feel more connected to others and the feeling of being connected to other humans has proven to be a serious source of happiness.

Sit down and think about the WHY of the resolution. What is the force driving you to want a new job? What outcome will getting a new job get for you? What is the purpose? How will you FEEL if you have a new job and what about this new job will change your life?

2. How do You Meet the Goal?

The next important step is how you reach the goal. Activity without purpose takes you nowhere. If you take action towards meeting your goal without a purpose behind the action you’ll lose traction which is why so many of us fail in our New Year’s resolution follow-through.

If it isn’t a SMART goal it’s just a wish. So, when you’re planning how you will accomplish your goal remember the scene in Forrest Gump where the feather floats along in the air until it lands on the ground. Your goal is the feather unless you direct it where to go and have a specific plan on how to get there.

To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, they must be:

Specific – State exactly what you’ll do using action words that are specific and not generalized. I want to lose weight becomes “I will lose twenty pounds”

Measurable – How will you evaluate your progress? Each weight my goal is to lose a minimum of one pound.

Achievable – It must be something you can accomplish. Trying to lose fifty pounds in five months is generally unreasonable (possible for some but not all)

Relevant – Its something you actually need to do or isn’t a priority. So, maybe you need to lose five pounds but you’re $25,000 in debt. Losing weight should not be your goal.

Time based – State the date by which you will accomplish the goal. “I’ll lose twenty pounds by June 1, 2019)

What you Really Want

What you really want is change and not a resolution. What you really want is to be better, feel better, be happier, experience more joy or growth or significance or contribution or have more love and connection. These are the reasons we make New Year’s resolutions.

We don’t fail to keep them because they aren’t important to us. We fail to keep them because we don’t have them tied to a particular outcome and we don’t have a plan to reach them.

So, what is it you want for next year and why? Whatever it is don’t make a resolution, make a plan.

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