Do you find yourself not writing a New Year’s Resolution because “they always fail”, do you write one knowing deep down that you likely won’t accomplish it, or are you recycling the same resolution year after year?
We enter the New Year with good intentions, but once we realize change takes sustained effort, we give up all to easily and fall back into old habits.
According to researcher and psychologist Richard Wiseman, 88% of all resolutions end in failure.
3 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail:
They are unspecific, unrealistic, and extrinsically motivated.
“I want to get healthy this year” “Eat healthier” “Get fit” “Lose weight” These goals are way to vague making it easier to procrastinate. There is no way to measure your success or hold yourself to an attainable, time-based goal.
Making a goal to “Go to the gym 5x per week for an hour” is unrealistic if you previously were hardly making it to the gym 2x per week on a regular basis. Setting unrealistic, highly aspirational goals is a quick way to failure.
EXTRINSICALLY MOTIVATED, not intrinsically motivated
If your resolution is generic or your motivation is external or insincere, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Set a goal where you have a strong, passion, internally, to make a change in your life. To accomplish a goal you will need a strong drive to achieve it coupled with will power and perseverance.
How to Create a New Year’s Resolution that won’t Fail
For optimal success, come up with a simple, concrete goal that can be easily tracked and re-evaluated. Having a goal isn’t enough, you also need a plan.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”
✓ Pick only 1 resolution and make it specific
✓ Create achievable mini-goals that are within reach, but will serve as steps for achieving your larger goal
✓ Answer the following questions:
- What is my resolution?
- What is holding me back now?
- How will I accomplish my resolution?
- How will I know when I get there, what are the acceptance criteria?
Setting a SMART Goal
A SMART goal clarifies exactly what is expected and the measures used to determine if the goal is achieved and successfully completed. A SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based. In other words, a goal that is very clear and easily understood.
SPECIFIC: Define your goal. Is it focused? Will someone else be involved? Where will it take place? Provide as many details as possible.
MEASURABLE: How much change is needed to achieve the goal? How do you define success? Try to quantify your goal. For instance, how much weight do you want to lose or how much money do you want to save?
ATTAINABLE: What are the action steps to attain the goal? What resources or tools are needed? Is this goal within your reach? Is it realistic?
RELEVANT: Is the goal important to you? Are you committed to achieving it? Are you willing to dedicate time and energy to reaching this goal? Does the goal have meaning to you?
TIME-BOUND: When does your goal start and end? What is your time frame for achieving the goal? Is this considered a short, intermediate or long term goal?
Tips for Success
BUILD A SUPPORT NETWORK: Tell friends and family about your resolution. Social support is helpful when trying to accomplish a goal. Enlist family and friends to help you achieve your resolutions by including them. Ask a family member to try new healthy recipes with you or ask a friend to be your workout buddy.
Work with a support team of professionals who specialize in helping you achieve your goals! This team may include a therapist, a registered dietitian (me), or even a personal trainer. This is a great way to start your new year and surround your self with encouragement and support.
REWARD YOUR PROGRESS: A research study from the University of Chicago outlines how positive feedback on any of your new habits will increase the likelihood of your success with your new habits and resolutions. Being positive and encouraging to yourself about your progress is a powerful tool in achieving your New Year’s Resolution.
MODIFYING YOUR RESOLUTION:
Instead of this … try this…
“I want to walk more.”
“I will park my car at the back of the parking lot at work.”
“I will take the stairs instead of elevators/escalators.”
“I will go to sleep earlier.”
“I will turn off all screens after 9pm and put my phone on do not disturb mode.”
“I am going to exercise more.”
“I will go to the gym 3 times per week before work for at least 25 minutes.”
“I will start by not smoking that 1 cigarette I have every morning after breakfast.”
“I will start by switching my daily breakfast pastry to oatmeal with berries and flax seeds.”
“I will begin by adding a serving of raw vegetables to my lunch.”
“I will pack my lunch for work 3 days per week.”
“I will stress less”.
“I will meditate for 2-3 minutes every night before bed.”
“Spend more time with family.”
“Wednesday nights will be family game night and Sunday afternoons will be a family supper.”