Many people view the beginning of the New Year as the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. To this end, we declare New Year’s resolutions to achieve positive goals.
We all start off highly motivated to meet these goals. But, unfortunately, the vast majority of us don’t even come close to actually doing so.
According to the Nielsen Company, a global leader in consumer statistics, the most common New Year's resolutions are:
- Get fit and stay fit
- Lose weight
- Enjoy life as much as possible
- Don't spend as much money and save more
- Spend more time with loved ones
- Improve organization
- Learn something new like pursuing a new hobby
- Travel more
- Read more
These are all noble goals. We place a great deal of value on them. They are also notoriously difficult to keep. In fact, most people break their resolutions within one month of making them.
Nielsen reports that 16% of all people surveyed don’t make New Year’s resolutions. This is understandable if they have been discouraged in the past by not meeting their goals. Thus, they might say, “Why bother?”
It is important to understand why so many people can’t seem to follow through. So you can improve your success rate and actually achieve your resolutions.
What are the barriers to keeping them?
How can you overcome these barriers?
The following is some advice to help you.
Why do you break your New Year's resolutions?
Below are seven reasons why people don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
1. Setting too many resolutions
This is one of the top reasons why people have difficulty keeping new year's resolutions.
It’s important to focus on one or two goals at a time. People set too many goals at once. They try to go after too many things at the same time.
Dedicate yourself entirely to changing one or two habits. Changing one habit necessitates a new thinking which will create new neural pathways in your brain.
If you try to change everything at the same time, you will fail.
There is an old proverb that says: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
Bear that in mind the next time you are setting new goals.
2. Setting goals that are not specific
Many New Year’s resolutions are simply too broad. If you turn them into more specific goals, it will be easier to stay motivated and achieve your goals.
For example, if your resolution was to stay fit, change this to more specific goals like “I will walk for at least three hours each week”. Or “I will not eat any sugar on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.”
Making your goals more specific makes them more easily achieved because you make it a very well defined action you can take.
3. Not being emotionally involved with your goal
Setting goals should be an ongoing process. It doesn't mean that you can’t set goals for the New Year. But most people are setting goals at this time of the year because everybody is doing it.
Therefore, they don’t feel the goals deep inside themselves. In fact, they are not ready to change their habits. If you understand how the mind works, habits are in the subconscious mind. Changing habits requires more than just thinking about the goals in your conscious mind.
Warren Buffet said that the chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
4. Not thinking from the goal and acting as if
When you are not emotionally involved with your new resolution, you only think of the goal. If you want to achieve your goal, you should think from the goal.
You have to change inside and see yourself achieving the results you want. Fusion with your goal is very important. Become one with your new idea in order to achieve success.
Start acting as if you have already reached your goal. Keep the image of the results you desire constantly in your mind.
5. Trying to do it alone
Humans are by nature social creatures. Thus, it is very difficult for us to do anything alone. But, if we commit to something as part of a team, we are much more likely to succeed.
Let's say, for example, that you set a goal of losing weight. Your chance of succeeding is much better if you join a group, formal or informal, that has the same goal.
Team up with other family members, friends, co-workers, and Internet buddies. Spur each other on!
6. Lacking positive reinforcement
We need positive reinforcement, and when we don’t get it, we are not as motivated to keep working on a goal. So, to improve your odds of maintaining your resolution goals over the long-term, here is what you can do.
Candidly tell your friends and family that you NEED their help to achieve your goal. Actively ask for their encouragement. They’ll be happy to cheer you on as this will make them feel good too. Plus, you can reciprocate and help them achieve their goals too.
If you've declared that you’ll eat healthier, ask your family to help you stay on track. Tell them to compliment you when they see you eating healthy! Choose the people around you wisely. Avoid negative people that don’t believe you can reach your goal.
7. Failing to record your progress
If there is no tangible record of your progress, you’ll be more tempted to slide and cheat! So, keep a diary or chart your progress.
If you have vowed to enjoy life more, keep a diary. It should list and describe each positive action you take to achieve this goal. If you have promised to spend more time with friends and family, write down each time you spend quality time with your loved ones.
If you have vowed to spend less money and save more money, chart exactly how much you save each week and keep a running total. That growing number will help keep you going in a positive direction.
If you are trying to lose weight, keep a weekly chart and even post it somewhere you will see it often.
Good luck in the New Year and we hope you achieve your resolutions!