Why My New Year Resolutions Fail before they Start
As we embark on another new year, many of us do some sort of self-reflection, set intentions, goals, plans, resolutions – whatever you choose to call them, to do some things different in the new year - whether that is adding or removing habits. But, what often happens is that, many of us revert to our old ways and all the great changes and plans we set at the top of the year, fall by the wayside – I am including myself as well.
In this post, I have devised a simple plan to help me stay on track with my goals and intentions for 2018 and I thought it might be helpful to you. As part of this process, it is important to note that having the right mindset is an integral ingredient; forming habits and making them stick is also part of this success; and finally, you have to put the work in to get the results.
To start, spend about 15-20 minutes (more if you chose) in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and make the commitment to yourself that you are worth investing in yourself to make the desired changes. Mindset is an important component, determine if some adjustments are warranted (see mindset article below).
Get REALLY clear on WHAT you want to accomplish in the new year
Get REALLY, REALLY clear on the WHY. Don’t skip the WHY, it is an integral part of this process. Without the WHY there is less motivation to accomplish what you set out to do
In getting clear on the WHY, think about what can happen if you don’t make the desired changes; is that outcome enough to motivate the changes. If not, you could be less likely to make those changes and stick to them. For example, one of my goals for this year is to incorporate more weights into my workouts. My WHY is to mitigate bone loss as I get older - I want to continue to be strong and mobile for as long as I live and not be debilitated, which limits my activities when I am older. I see so much of that today and it is painful to watch. That is enough to motivate and keep me going.
Write down 3-5 things, be specific, preferably in a notebook (less likely to lose) or on an electronic device. You will need three columns – WHAT, WHY and TIME FRAME. Time can be the date you expect to achieve that goal, frequency or a time frame within which you will include/change a behavior or action. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many items as they might be harder to accomplish. Always start small.
Review your 3-5 items daily to maintain focus – out of sight out of mind
Some of your items may require a mindset change – this must be baby steps to recondition your thinking. It requires frequent focus and practice.
Here is a sample my goals/resolutions/intentions for 2018:
Goal/intention/Resolution -WHAT - Incorporate weight training as part of my workouts.
WHY - As I age, I want to make sure that my bones stay strong for as long as possible
TIME - Do 15-20 minutes of weight training 2 times a week.
Goal/intention/Resolution - Read a minimum of 8 books
WHY - Increase brain functioning optimally and increase knowledge, especially in the wellness field
TIME - 1 book every two months. Joining a book club will help.
Goal/intention/Resolution - **Be less judgmental (see quote below)
WHY - This is more about me that the people I judge. I want to become more open, reduce insecurities and feeling of lack.
TIME - Every interaction
** “We judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.” Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
In order to be successful, you may need to work on changing your mindset. I had to do BIG work in this area, so if you are struggling with this, it might be the reason why you can’t accomplish any of your desired goals, here is a summary of tips to improve mindset from an article I read. The full article is in the link below.
Accept that your thinking may needs adjusting
Identify your counter-mindsets – Mindsets are formed through prior experiences and emotional milestones, and the mindsets that aren’t producing the results you want are called counter-mindsets.
Flip the switch – Once you’ve identified your top negative thoughts, you need to stop them from holding you back. The best technique I know for this is something I call “flip the switch,” which moves thoughts from negative to positive.
Understand your “why” – Changing your mindsets takes work because formed habits aren’t easy to break. This is especially true since many of our most harmful habits and counter-mindsets were established when we were kids, and we’ve been doing things the same way ever since.
Realize that motivation and willpower are not enough – Most people incorrectly believe that motivation and willpower are all that’s needed to achieve their goals.
Start small so you can finish big - This may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to change your mindsets and realize your dreams is through setting ridiculously tiny, utterly achievable goals.
Get comfortable with the “F” (FAILURE) word The steps for how to change your mindset that I’ve outlined so far will help you move forward with confidence toward achieving more of your goals and dreams. However, it’s critical to understand that it will be hard work.
Once you are all set with your goals, now they must become habits, and how do you do that?
Research has shown that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. See the article below from Brainpickings.org.