Although nearly half of us make New Year’s resolutions, the truth is that less than 10 percent will actually follow through with them.
If you’ve ever set a goal, or two or three, only to have them fall by the wayside before the week is out, then you know what we mean. That feeling of frustration that you get from setting goals, and realizing that they’re not going to be accomplished is tremendously discouraging.
While difficulty sticking with goals and resolutions could be due to a number of things, there are a few especially common culprits that are usually to blame. With this in mind, let’s take a look at six common reasons that it’s nearly impossible to stick to your plans, and make this the year that you achieve big things!
1. You’re Taking on Too Much
Sure, reach for the stars and dream big! But when it comes down to it, you’re going to want to break those bigger goals into manageable, bite-sized steps. Instead of setting a goal that’s unrealistic, or one that’d be difficult to fit into your lifestyle, consider setting your sights on something a bit more manageable. Similarly, if you have three or four big goals that you’re hoping to accomplish, you’ll want to consider whether you can realistically saddle yourself with that much all at once. It may be better to break your plans up. Prioritize one or two things first, and then, work to introduce another at a later date.
2. You’re Going Solo
When it comes to setting goals, don’t feel that you have to go it alone! Enlisting the help of an accountability partner or friend can help you to stick to your goals. Success coach my Applebaum says that having a buddy “Creates accountability, which is essential for success.” Having someone to keep you on track, encourage you and even inspire you is invaluable when it comes to making big changes. Never underestimate the power of a support system.
3. You’ve Forgotten Your Tools
One reason that many resolutions are so difficult to keep, can be explained by taking a look at the psychology behind why we’re setting resolutions in the first place. “You are making it your New Year’s goal because you keep failing at it,” explains Tim Pychyl, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa. Just because the calendar’s changed over doesn’t mean we’ll automatically get better at doing those things that we’ve been struggling with for a while! Instead, set yourself up for success by ensuring that you have the right tools, the ones that you need for success. For example, if you’re trying to eat more healthily, make sure you have the right strategy, recipes, and ingredients that you need to stay on track! Be realistic and kind to yourself. Allowing yourself to enjoy the occasional treat in moderation is a far better approach than restricting yourself too much and attempting to go cold turkey on everything.
4. You’re Underestimating the Process
The other bad thing about New Year’s resolutions, says Pychyl, is that making them requires no action. Simply thinking about doing something, is a lot easier than actually doing it, and it also gives us instant gratification. Just thinking about it makes us feel good, and we don’t even have to put in any effort! In order to set yourself up for success with your resolutions, it’s important to ensure that you understand exactly what you’re in for. The truth is change is rarely a simple process. Instead, it’s a list of different factors, all connected to each other, and it requires a lot of work in order to move in the right direction. Make sure you properly estimate the amount of time and energy that will be involved with achieving your goals, give yourself it enough time to complete each task, and be realistic how long it will take.
5. You’re Putting Too Much Pressure On
You may have the very best of intentions, but it’s important to ensure that you’re not putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Success coach Amy Applebaum sums it up well. “Rather than associating the New Year with resolutions or changes you need to make, consider it a time for reflection on things you wish to work on throughout the year.” Having the right perspective can mean the difference between success and failure. As Applebaum says, “Quit dwelling on what you have not accomplished and focus on what you will accomplish instead.”
6. We’re Motivated by Negative Emotions
Similarly, don’t allow yourself to be motivated by negative emotions. We tend to think that regret, shame, and guilt are powerful catalysts for change, but the truth is that coming from a place of positivity is a far better approach. One review of 129 behavior change studies found that the consistently least effective change strategies were the ones that hinged on fear and regret. In order to make real changes, we need positive reasons for pursuing them.
While it’s true that the New Year can be a great time for prioritizing, cleaning out the old, and bringing in the new, it’s important to remember that the best goals aren’t ones that are set around a specific time of year. What matters most is how you set your goals, why you set them, and whether you take the time to truly set yourself up for success.
Day Designer was created to help you come up with a plan for your year—and gives you the tools you need to stick with it, day by day! Shop for your new planner today!