Why New Years Resolutions Fail?
Happy New Years!
The start of a new year always brings talk of new years resolutions and people that start the year with big goals and the mantra "New Year, New Me"
There are many people who use the start of a year to plan out goals and take the first steps to changing their lives. We are in that group of people and think the new year is a great time to plan, expand your mind, and take the first steps to success. But, those of us who start the year deciding to make a big change in our lives are fighting an up hill battle against the statistics. They are rather grim. With over half of the population starting the year with resolutions, only 28% of those people who start actually stick to their resolutions for the first 30 days! And out of 28% only a minor 8% actually complete them. Eeek!
How to Stick to Your New Years Resolution
so why are New Years Resolutions are so common yet so unsuccessful?
Well I'm happy you asked! The fact is that most people don't give themselves the opportunity to be successful. They go in without a vision or plan to follow through. And don't properly define the reasons they want transformation.
No plan+ No Action = No success
When making a big change in your life you will need planning, action, and powerful reasons to propel you forward. You can't decide to quit smoking or loose weight without knowing the steps you need to be successful and why its more important to make this change rather than continue the way you were going.
So here are the steps you can use to make 2020 YOUR year
- Set goals and have a vision that excites you
- Determine your reasons
- Make your goals S.M.A.R.T
- Make an Action plan
- Do it daily
- Take Action
Setting Your Goals and Vision
Seems pretty straight forward? Well it is, how do you want to transform your life? Do you want to change Physically? Emotionally? Financially? Spiritually? You likely already have a sense about what and how you want to change or you wouldn't be reading this. But the step that a lot of people miss is defining what achieving your goals accomplishes for you. Be specific. Define what success will look and feel like. How will your daily life be different? By being specific you clarify your vision and therefore clarify what your life will look like when you achieve your goal. Then use this vision to measure your progress and keep you accountable. If you find that you are drifting off the course of your vision you can correct the course and keep making meaningful progress.
So what do YOU want to achieve? What will your life look like and feel like by achieving this goal? What will it mean for you to achieve this? Get a piece of paper or a journal and write it out.
Determine Your Reasons
We have all experienced motivation and often feel very motivated the beginning of any journey. But inevitably you will find that your motivation gets used up and after a few weeks starts to wane. This is why only 8% of people actually achieve the resolutions they set. So how to we get past this lack of motivation? We find powerful Reasons.
Our reasons are what will propel us forward when we don't feel like continuing. You must find a strong reason why you want to change. It may take you a while to find this reason and you will have to put a lot of thought into it. You must make sure it is a reason you feel to your core. Only a strong reason will give you the drive to push past any immediate gratification you may feel by neglecting your goals. This reason is the real WHY behind your goals and is the only thing that will keep you disciplined to achieve them.
To find your reason ask yourself why you want to achieve your goal. And then ask yourself why again. And again, until you find a reason that you feel in your core. You are the only one who will know if you have found the right reason but trust me, you will know when you have.
An example of this can be seen from someone who wants to loose weight. At first their goals is to loose a few pounds, lets say 30 lbs. Looking deeper they may say they want to loose 30 lbs so they feel better each day. This is a good start but we need to go deeper. Why do they want to feel good and what do they mean? To have more energy? Maybe this person is a little older, and they have young kids. They see younger parents with the energy to spend time, laugh, play, and enjoy experiences with their kids and this person wants that too. They want their kids to look back at their childhood days and remember a Mom or Dad who went above and beyond by doing things with them that other parents couldn't with their kids. Event though they were older parents. This person wants to give his or her kids the parent they deserve. They want to be there for their kids in every capacity and they cannot do that if they are unhealthy, tired all the time, and out of shape. By distilling this down we can easily see their reason for wanting to loose the weight is so they can be the best version of themselves for their kids. With this reason any excuses that may pop up wont be able to overpower it and with a little discipline the goal will be achieved.
So start now, get your paper and start writing out potential reasons. Keep distilling down until you find the reason that you feel to your core. The reason that gives your goals a greater meaning and makes you want to achieve this goal no matter what happens.
Make Your Goals S.M.A.R.T
SMART stands for
- Specific- as listed above! The more specific you make your goals the more clear and achievable the become! It gives you a defined path to follow.
- Measurable- Exact amounts and dates to help you define where you are at all points in relation to your goal! For example if you want to loose weight, how much weight do you want to loose and by when? Do you have a specific date you want to be at that goal weight?
- Attainable- Are you setting goals that are achievable? Setting your bar to high to start can erode your confidence to continue but you also want to push yourself out side your comfort zone. Pick something that pushes your perceived limits. If you have a big goal, that's great, make sure you are aggressive but reasonable about the time and work necessary to achieve it.
- Relevant- Are the goals you set relevant to the direction you want your life and career to go? Setting goals that are inconsistent can derail you from working towards what you want. Making sure you're working in a consistent direction will help you stay focused on what you're working to achieve. Whats the point in making goals that don't align with the way your really want your life to go?
- Time Bound- Put a time stamp on it. Set a deadline so you know when to celebrate successes, recognize your milestones and increase your sense of urgency to achieve your goals!
Creating Your Action Plan
Now that you have a clear vision and know what you want, you can create your action plan! Write it out to make it tangible. Start by breaking your goal down in to smaller bite sizes pieces. This will make it more manageable to achieve! Use the bite sized pieces to draft an action plan including daily actions you can take to achieve your micro-goals or milestones. For example if you want loose 30 lbs in 5 months will you have to loose 6 lbs per month or 1.5 lbs per week. Converting 1.5 lbs of fat to calories we find we must burn or eliminate 5,250 calories each week. Now take this info and put a plan together to implement it. For example restricting diet calories by 500 each day and adding 1 hour of exercise 3 days a week will help us eliminate around 5000 calories a week. Stick to it and viola you have lost 30 lbs in 3 months.
While the above example is simplified it illustrates the process of breaking the goal down and creating daily actions to move you towards it. I find using small pieces prevents me from feeling overwhelmed by a big goal and allows me to focus on what I can control in the moment. This is the basis for an effective action plan, focusing on what you can control.
Do It Daily
Your vision can become more powerful by writing it out daily. Statistics show you're 42% more likely to achieve a goal that's been written out. This is because when we write down a goal there are two things working in your favor. First, by writing your goals you can easily look back on them and remind yourself of what it is your working towards. The second is what neuroscience referrers too as "encoding". Encoding, explained simply, is the process of your brain sorting through what goes to long term memory and short term memory and how thoughts get processed. By writing your goals daily you're actually training your brain to prioritize that goal. Having your goal be top priority for your brain will make you a more creative and intuitive problem solve and will ultimately get you to your goals faster. Writing it out can help keep you motivated and intentional with your actions throughout the day and ensures you are always working towards your vision. It keeps your reasons at the forefront of your mind which will keep your disciplined and motivated.
It can be so easy to forget what your working towards or be distracted and taken off track, so writing out your goals daily keeps them clear and at the top of your mind. The books I've read from some of the top minds around the world say that is one of the things they attribute as a key to their success. So as you can see we feel pretty passionately about writing them out.
Alright, so now you have everything you need to be successful with your goals, there's just one final step. Take action! All your hard work of planning, being S.M.A.R.T and writing it all out doesn't mean a whole lot if we don't take any action to put it to work.
Writing out your goals is a great way to start and will prompt you to start with the actions you need to take today to get you closer to achieving your goals. Take action NOW and feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you are putting yourself in that 8% of achievers who transform their lives by sticking to their resolutions.
Well that's it. Whether your going into the new year with big audacious goals or just trying to execute effectively on goals you've set 1000x these are my six points to help you have a successful 2020. We would love to hear from you, what are your goals for 2020 and how are you getting set up for success?