Why New Year's Resolutions Fail (...And How to Make Sure Yours Isn't One of Them)
It’s the end of January. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? If you have already forgotten about them, you are not alone. In fact, you are in the vast majority of Americans (80% according to a US News & World Report) who make resolutions and then fail to keep them by February. As we know, “losing weight” and “getting in shape” are some of the most common resolutions people make each year. All it takes to see that is a quick scroll through your social media feed at the end of December to see all the advertising globo gyms spend to appeal to the “New Year, New You” customers in order to get them to sign for contracts with them-that will never be used. Even at our gym, we hear it all the time: “Oh, I’m just going to wait until January to start working out.” Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful that so many people wake up on January 1st full of inspiration and lofty goals for the New Year. But, here’s the problem: 80% OF ALL NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FAIL. BY FEBRUARY. In less than a month, most people have fallen back in to their old ways- their old habits, old routines. “Well there’s always next year” you think to yourself with a sigh. But what if that doesn’t have to be the case for you this year? What if you not only REACH YOUR GOALS, but even far exceed your expectations? Read on. It turns out that there are some pretty common reasons why these resolutions never come to fruition, and I’ll also outline some ways to make sure you don’t become one of the statistics.
You know your WHAT, but you don’t know your WHY
Have you ever thought: “Man, I would really love to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to go on a diet starting tomorrow.” And then tomorrow comes and donuts turn up in the break room at work, or you’re invited out to dinner and drinks with friends. That “goal” of losing 20 pounds is already a distant memory. When you make the decision that something in your life needs to change for the better, it’s really hard to make it stick without thinking about WHY it is important to you. Do you want to lose that weight so you can have better energy and focus in a more active life? Or maybe you want to be a positive example of health and wellness for your kids to look up to. Possibly there is a big event coming up and you want to fit into a special dress or tuxedo, or impress your old high school classmates. Maybe it’s something completely different. Regardless of your goal, without a clear vision of where it came from and how it will positively influence your life in the future leads room for indifference, confusion, and unfortunately in many cases, abandoning your goals. When you have this clearly in your mind, make sure you write this all down so when you are weeks, months, years (yes even YEARS) into the process, you can look back to remember your WHY.
You Lack “Action Steps”
Ok, so now you have your goal and you know WHY making that change will have such a positive influence on your life. So now what happens? Many people have trouble seeing that in order to make changes old habits and routines, you need a clear and detailed process that will take you from point A (your current state) to point B (the new you, once you’ve achieved your goal). This will help you see your progress and help to automate your steps so you know where you need to go next without putting in a lot of thought. The less thought involved, the better so that it is not as “easy” to give up. Remember that weight loss example? This is something we hear regularly at the gym when people come in for a consult: “I just want to lose a little weight.” Of course, if you ask them HOW they are planning on doing that, more often than not, they aren’t sure or can’t articulate their plan. And that is completely fine. If needed, we specialize in helping people create these process goals and small step-by-step action steps to take to get them where they want to be. It is not easy to do, but it is critical in having success in meeting your goals. Many of us have heard the acronym: SMART when talking about goals, and truly that could be a series of posts in it of itself. But in a few sentences, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound. It is a statement that clearly and concisely leads a person in the direction of what they want to accomplish. Writing goals that are smart-and SMART- is an art form, and takes practice. But here are the basics to keep in mind when writing these goals:
You Fail to Realize it is a MARATHON, Not a SPRINT
Real sustainable change happens gradually over time. There truly is no such thing as “quick and easy” when it comes to getting valuable results in any aspect of your life, but especially when it comes to make adjustments to your habits and routines. Check out my previous post HERE about how to make small changes to your routines over time in order to create habits that will last a lifetime.
Another key point to make is that many (really most) of us find it hard to stick to our “good behaviors” 100% of the time, which might make it appealing to set goals that are simple to reach, and therefore avoid feeling discouraged by failure. However, research has shown that setting goals that are harder to attain is more motivating. So where is the perfect balance? The simple answer: give yourself a break if you mess up-a little. Yes, you read that right: the key to long term change is giving yourself a “mulligan” if a day doesn’t go as planned. Maybe it is your anniversary and you and your significant other have a tradition of eating carrot cake in celebration. But you also have your weight loss goal, and no where in the “process” to get there does it mention cake. What should you do?! EAT THE CAKE. And then the next day: wake up, eat a balanced breakfast, exercise, and move on with your life. If you feel completely miserable and unhappy the entire time you are working towards your goal, IT JUST ISN’T WORTH IT. If it constantly seems as though you are “missing out” on too much of life because of the goals you are trying to reach, you will never achieve your goal, I promise. Set tough goals for yourself but if you have an occasional slip up, don’t let it derail you. Which brings me to my last point:
Enjoy the Journey
Make it fun! Get your friends and family involved every step of the way. If you have a goal to exercise more, work out with your friends (we have an awesome group of about 120 “friends” who would love to meet you!). If you have nutrition goals, get a spouse, family member, or friend to join you. Come check out our awesome nutrition program by clicking here. No matter what you are striving for, make sure you have a support group who is behind you through every up and down; who will celebrate with you when you reach a new milestone and be there to keep you going if (and when) you have a minor mishap. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS, and celebrate each and every victory.
Making New Year’s resolutions is a great way to kickstart a new year and can lead to truly amazing, life changing results. But this will only happen IF you have a plan in place and stick to it. Change really is a good thing, especially when it leads to a happier, healthy, more successful version of yourself.
If you want help reaching your health, fitness, or wellness goals, come see us. We will guide you through every step of the way, help you get results, and we will not let you fail. Schedule your free - no obligation - intro below.