We are 3 weeks into 2015, and with the beginning of a New Year, millions of people everywhere have all started on their annual quest for self-improvement… Working toward achieving their new year’s resolutions.
You’re going to lose those 10 kilos. Start reading more. Spend more quality time with your family. Give up some bad habit. Eat better.
A new year. A new you.
Personally I think our quest to make resolutions is a positive thing. It’s a sign of our innate desire to better ourselves. To make that leap to a better life.
We’re programmed to want to do better. And that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately our results don’t often match our goals.
An Exercise In Futility?
Statistics have shown that – get this – 92% of people who make resolutions are unsuccessful in achieving them.
Now there are all kinds of reasons that this is the case, and I have outlined the:
10 Signs You Won’t Reach Your Resolutions This Year
1.You make the same resolutions year after year. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Telling yourself every January that you are going to make a specific change, and then not doing it, is not only insane by Einstein’s definition, but it’s also frustrating and demoralising. With this approach, you accomplish little more than feeling bad about yourself. Tip: When looking at most resolutions, what people usually write down is a list of outcomes. But to reach these outcomes, behaviour needs to change first. Make sure the resolutions you make are actual behaviours (actions) you are willing and able to change. You might want to lose weight, but are you willing to change the way you eat and start exercising regularly in order to do so
2.You have three or more resolutions on your list. When we try to make major changes in many different areas of our lives at the same time, we often end up overwhelmed. Change takes effort, energy and work, and we all have limited amounts of time, willpower and resources. Tip: Pick only one resolution to focus on at a time. Once you’ve reached your goal, no matter what month, you can begin working on the next one.
3.Your have no real motivation to change. If you struggle to stay motivated once the initial excitement around your resolution fades, there’s a good chance your “why” isn’t strong enough. When desire and commitment aren’t rock solid, you end up giving up too quickly and reverting back to life as you know it. Tip: Connect your resolution to heartfelt, deep motivators. If you are unclear about how achieving your goals will impact your life, your chances for success are slim to none. Ask yourself, “Is this something I think I should do or is it something I desperately want to do?”
4.Your resolution isn’t attached to a plan. Having a wish list of things you want, without a roadmap to get them, will lead you nowhere. It’s asking you to depend on luck and willpower, which won’t get you very far. Tip: To achieve your resolution, what specific steps will you need to take and practice on a regular basis? You need to create action-oriented goals that state what you are going to do and what you need to execute those goals
5.Your resolution is vague. Any abstract goal you have, that is not tied to a specific behaviour, is nearly impossible for your brain to focus on. If it’s not specific, it’s not possible to measure progress and success. Tip: A specific goal will answer what, where, when and how much. What does it really mean when you say “lose weight,” “exercise more,” “eat better” or “get organised”? If you rarely exercise, how often is more? How much weight would you want to lose to feel successful? How many pieces of fruit and servings of vegetables will you eat each day? A goal such as, “I will lose 5 kilos by July 1 by going to the gym three times each week, and packing my own healthy lunches for work four days a week,” is something you can visualise and track.
6.Your resolution is unrealistic. Take a look at where you are currently in regards to your big goal. If the gap between where you are and where you want to be feels enormous, you might need to dial it down a bit. Tip: Break your resolution down into manageable parts. If you’ve never run a kilometer in your life, and your most frequent pastime is watching TV, running a marathon this year might just be too big of a leap
7.You don’t have any support. Not only will “going it alone” slow down your progress, it will make it lonely! There is no shame in reaching out for help. Ask anyone who has achieved great success in any area of their life how they accomplished it, and they will tell you they had a mentor, teacher or significant relationship with someone who supported and guided them along the way. Tip: Surround yourself with support. If possible, buddy-up with a friend who is attempting to make similar changes.
8.You don’t have a tracking system. If you don’t have a means to measure progress along the way, how will you know if you’re following the right path? A tracking system is like a great GPS: If you’re not getting the right results, it will tell you to recalculate. Tip: Handwrite your resolutions and keep them in a “working” notebook. Unless you get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper, there is a very good chance they will be lost in the business of everyday life. However, it’s not enough to write down goals and put them in some drawer where you will soon forget about them. Write down your plan, and keep notes on your progress, thoughts and experiences. Revise and update often.
9.You really don’t believe you will succeed. If your inner critic is telling you there is no way you’ll succeed, you won’t. Ben Franklin wisely said, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right.” Tip: Eliminate your inner critic. Treat yourself like you would a cherished friend or adored child. Don’t be mean to yourself; slip-ups are inevitable.
10.You think you can only change at the beginning of the year. If mid-February rolls around, and you have not made progress towards your resolutions, don’t tell yourself all is lost. You can start over again any day of the year. We are blessed to be able to get up every morning and make the decision that today is the day we will begin to do things differently. Tip: Do quarterly check-ups. Every three months, go back to the first entry in your notebook. Reread your resolution, update it and note your progress. If your resolution is now a habit, create a new resolution and start the process again. If you haven’t gotten as far as you would have liked, redesign your plan and try a different approach. Resolve to begin again. Making resolutions really means you are resolving to change.
It’s hard work but worth the time and effort. So be sure to choose something to build (a solid running base, a pantry full of healthy food, a daily meditation routine) and then pat yourself on the back for each step forward. You’ll be surprised how quickly the year goes by as you accomplish goals that you have set.