New Year’s Resolutions = 9 Ways You Are Setting Yourself Up for Failure

It’s almost time for the annual reformation.  The new year is around the corner and with it our habit of looking at the clean slate of the next 12 months as an opportunity for change.

I’m all for making positive changes, but frankly new year’s resolutions are a waste of time.

Most people fail to keep them.

Why do they fail (and what can you do)?

1. Arbitrary timing.  Just because it’s a new year is not a motivating enough reason to create the desire to change.

2. Too many goals.  People usually come up with a resolution list.  Fighting the war of willpower on multiple fronts can be overwhelming.  Pick one goal to get started.  When you build your mental muscle in one area, you can leverage that new strength in another area.

3. Unrealistic goals.  Making a million dollars or losing 100 pounds might be unrealistic.  How about making $500 or losing 10 pounds to get started? Use S.M.A.R.T. goals.

4. Lack of an action plan.  Successful action plans typically involve breaking down goals into smaller action steps and rewarding yourself when you achieve a baby step.  Yes, this does mean you need to record your actions (e.g. a food journal).

5. Lack of action.  Most likely, you already know what to do.  You just need to do it.  If you need support to take action, get support.  Groups like Weight Watchers can help.

6. Lack of accountability.  If you keep a goal to yourself, nobody knows when you’ve blown it.  Tell friends and family.  Join a group.  Get an accountability partner.

7. Visualization of goal attainment.  OK.  I’m going completely against the self-help gurus’ advice here.  But in my experience visualizing myself having attained a goal has NEVER motivated me toward it.  In fact, if you believe the self-help gurus when they say that you can trick your brain into believing something is true when you visualize it, then your brain already believes you have attained your goal, so why work at it?  However, visualization of the steps to success can be helpful.  Many studies have shown that people who visualize themselves practicing something have more success than those who don’t. Visualize doing, not achieving.

8. Not controlling the environment.  If you want to avoid certain tempting foods, keep them out of the house.  You know your temptations.  Make plans to thwart them.  If you want to save more money, have money deducted from your paycheck for your 401K.

9. Giving up too easily.  Many people give up when they experience a setback.  Accept that there will be setbacks.  Remember two steps forward and one step back is still a step forward.

This year, don’t make resolutions; make a real change in your life.  One day at a time. One week at a time. One goal at a time.

What is your opinion on new year’s resolutions?


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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