Why New Year's Resolutions DON'T Work

The new year always symbolizes new beginnings for most people, but often times the hype around new year resolutions is simply too much to live up to. Setting goals for personal and professional development is always a great idea, and when they’re time bound, they can help you to take massive action. That said, when you look back on past year’s resolutions, how do you feel? Do you feel like you crushed every goal you set for yourself? If we really take some time for honest reflection, there is likely a few places where we could’ve done things differently.

The first step is often the most difficult!

The first step is often the most difficult!

The cold, hard truth is, most new year’s resolutions don’t work. The good news is, there’s plenty we can do to address the reasons why! Usually these resolutions involve creating a new habit or changing existing habits. The key elements around sticking to your new year’s resolutions are:

  • Creating realistic, detailed goals

  • Incorporating a positive mindset

  • Staying committed

The first step to having a solid new year’s resolutions is to create realistic and detailed goals. To give an example, a common goal for the new year is to lose weight. However, people haven’t clearly defined their plan of action, or how they are going to lose the weight. If your goal hasn’t been clearly defined, and it’s not realistically aligned with your lifestyle, it’s not going to last very long. If you can only jog a mile a day, then your goal could be to jog one mile every other day and then relax on the weekends. In this case you are pushing yourself, while also looking forward to relaxing on the weekend. And of course, eating and proportioning the right foods are important to losing weight. Once you have conquered the small victories, you can push yourself to accomplish the bigger ones. As long as your new year’s resolutions are true to who you are and you have a realistic idea on how to get it done, than you are on the right track!

Now let’s talk about mindset. Having an optimistic mindset is key to accomplishing anything in life. Sometimes people give up halfway because they feel like it’s impossible to achieve their desired results. It requires a healthy, positive mindset and perseverance to stay on course. Beating yourself up over small setbacks will only hinder your progress. Rewarding yourself for the little victories along the way is a great way to stay motivated. This is a new journey which is exciting, so treat it like a new chapter in your life!

Commitment is a big factor when it comes to any task or goal that you want to accomplish - as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s easy to feel inspired at the beginning of a new year, but harder to keep that enthusiasm a few months in. There’s a reason why January is always the busiest time of year at the gym! Folks who have already incorporated a consistent workout into their lifestyle know that by March all of the “newbies” will likely have faded away. Our society is very much one focused on instant gratification. Meaning that if we don’t experience results sooner rather than later, we have a tendency to get down on ourselves. This feeling of defeat will leave us uninspired and looking for a new fix. At the end of the day, the key is to reframe thinking to something like, “I know this will only benefit me in the long run, and that’s why I’m choosing to stay committed.”

To add on, creating a new habit or changing existing habits is a daily practice - we’re talking lifestyle changes! This can be incorporating something simple, or it can mean recoding old beliefs and thought patterns that no longer serve us. Remember, we create habits and patterns around the 28 day mark, so keep that in mind on the days you feel less inspired. If you can push through, I think you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Heading into the new year, I encourage you to take time for honest reflection, clearly define your new goals, and ultimately, find what realistically works for your lifestyle - I know you can do it! I’d love to hear what goals you hope to achieve in 2019, feel free to connect with me for additional guidance, accountability and support!