As hopeful as you may be to achieve your goals, the statistics are sadly not in your favour.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is approximately 80%, and most people only adhere to them until mid-February every year.
You probably have your resolutions jotted down already, but before you fail (again), let’s try to understand why failing is almost inevitable for many of us.
Why do your resolutions fail?
If the years are flying by, along with your unmet resolutions, there are a few common reasons why:
- Thinking too much but not doing enough to achieve your goals. This could mean listing your goals but not doing the work.
- Trying too hard by setting goals that set you up for failure. For example, following diets that cut out everything you enjoy. Meaning, you’ll inevitably crash and revert to your old eating habits.
- You don’t believe in yourself enough.
- You don’t track your progress. If you don’t see your results, you won’t be able to fuel your motivation to continue working at a goal. For instance, if your goal is to have a smaller waist, if you never measure your waist, you’ll never know if your work is paying off. This also means you may give up because you’re not seeing results.
Make the intention first
The difference between a goal and an intention is that an intention comes without the “succeed or fail” dynamic. This takes away the pressure of getting results while still including effort and a process. These intentions could be structured as daily, weekly and monthly ones instead of one huge goal.
For example, if you make the intention to be more active, you could start by taking the stairs instead of the lift at work. Or walking to the bus stop rather than getting a lift. Those small achievements will help keep you going.
Focus on the process
New Year’s resolutions are often huge goals. Since they’re looming, you’re likely to become overwhelmed and give up altogether. By focusing on the process though, you’ll avoid becoming overwhelmed by a long-term goal. You’ll still be able to enjoy the journey without becoming anxious about the destination.
Link long-term and short-term rewards
Would you wreck yourself to achieve a goal, just to get zilch in return? Probably not. This is because human beings are big on rewards and the more immediate they are, the better. Because of this, if you concentrate on both the long-term reward and the short-term ones, you’re more likely to stick it out till the finishing line.
For example, if you’re writing a book, celebrate small milestones instead of waiting till it’s complete. This could mean having a treat for every 10 000 words you reach and so on. This reward system will fuel your determination as you progress.
Give yourself a breather
Remember that change takes time and unhealthy habits can be hard to break. Don’t beat yourself up about failures and celebrate your small milestones. Keep track of your achievements in a diary or on your phone to keep you going.
Take a load off by sharing the experience with like-minded people. For instance, team up with a loved one who also wants to lose weight or join a gym so you’re surrounded by other motivated people. Lastly, you don’t have to wait until 1 January to set or start your resolutions. Forming healthy habits and goals is often a lifelong journey.