Here we go again! Another year gone by and you did not accomplish ANY of the resolutions you were gung-ho about on January 1st. OK, maybe a few days later, after your hangover wore off. Do you ever wonder why we are not successful accomplishing our New Year’s resolutions? According to U.S. News approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Why do we bother setting resolutions and where did it all begin?
A Little Bit Of History
According to ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions. He is a two-faced god: one looking backwards into the old year, and one looking forward into the new year. Romans believed they would be forgiven for their wrongdoings of the prior year by giving gifts and making promises so Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead. That’s how it all started!
7 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
There are so many reasons why we struggle to accomplish our new year’s resolutions. Here are seven reasons why:
- We set too many goals at one time- let’s keep it real! Although we may have a list of habits we want to change, we can’t do it all at once. Get rid of the “I want it all now!” mentality and you will have a better chance at success.
- This goes hand in hand with #1- setting unrealistic goals such as: losing 50 lbs in 1 month or getting a six pack by doing a bunch of crunches. It ain’t gonna happen.
- “I’ll wait for the new year”- why wait for a specific date to begin implementing positive changes? Your chances of failing will be greater.
- Changing some things, but not others- I’ll keep referring to fitness because that is one of the top resolutions. For example, you want to lose weight by working out, but you maintain unhealthy eating habits. Our bodies are our vehicles. That’s equivalent to having a nice, new, shiny car, but putting low quality fuel in the tank. Eventually it will begin to perform poorly and break down.
- You don’t have a support system- it is more difficult to create and sustain changes without the support of our loved ones.
- Quitting soon after a setback- feeling you failed if you fall back into old habits, so you call it quits.
- Lacking a reward system- having positive reinforcement keeps you motivated.
7 Ways to Succeed With New Year’s Resolutions
Don’t give up on New Year’s resolutions. You can succeed with a plan like this one:
- Make a list of what you want to change, then prioritize. Once you have your list, pick the most important ones for you. Create a plan to help you get started. Once you reach those goals and are able to sustain them, then you can add another goal and begin working on it. If one of your new year’s resolution is to change your bad eating habits, I wrote a blog on eating clean that can help you begin your journey.
- Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds. Instead of saying you will lose it in one month, set your goal to lose the weight by the end of June, for example. It is more realistic to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, which will set you up for success, rather than failure. Or, for example, if you want to begin an exercise routine, don’t set your goals to work out 4 to 5 times a week. Start small: work out 3 times a week for the first month, and increase it as you get stronger. Here’s another blog I wrote to help you get started.
- Making positive changes is a process. Our minds are very powerful, which can help or hinder us. If you wait to implement changes, you may talk yourself out of it by waiting. It’s not easy to reprogram your brain, but why wait for a future that does not yet exist? All we have is the present: start NOW!
- Why would you want to make a particular change but not change other areas? Make it a lifestyle change! When body, mind, and spirit are in harmony, our lives flow like beautiful music. I’m not recommending you go to Tibet and sit in a cave meditating for a year, but be open to new ways of viewing life. Don’t stay stuck in old beliefs that may no longer serve you. If we all work on becoming the best version of ourselves, we will be contributors to a better world.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Reach out to others who can support you and stay away from the naysayers who want to drag you down with them.
- Acknowledging that setbacks happen is a huge accomplishment. There will be times you will find yourself slipping into old habits. Being aware and bringing yourself back on track is key. Don’t beat yourself up and quit. We are all work in progress.
- Having a reward system keeps you motivated and gives you something to look forward to when working on goals or resolutions. I’m not talking about “cheat days” when you’re first trying to adapt better eating habits. You will only be cheating yourself.
- Create a rewards savings account. Set an amount to contribute every time you reach a goal, no matter how small you may think it is. At the end of the year, or whenever you reach your long-term goal, use that money and splurge on yourself.
- Treat yourself to a spa day (massage,hair, mani-pedi, wax, etc.)
- Meet a friend you haven’t seen in a while for coffee or lunch and share your success.
- Take a day off work and do whatever you want, or nothing at all!
- Buy yourself a cute workout outfit or shoes.
Believe in yourself, support others. and let this be a year of long-lasting, positive changes. Happy New Year!