New year resolutions fail if we do not have a process to make them happen.  Here are the 5 reasons behind their failure and what you should do instead

Every January a big part of the population makes new year resolutions, they feel motivated and ready to start the new year on the right foot.  Google reports that there is a peak in searches on the first days of January for the following keywords: “diet”, “weight loss” and “gym in my area”. But surprisingly only 8% of these people actually accomplish anything by the end of the year.

The resolution fail numbers are so clear that some companies capitalize on these failures.  Gyms have been known for selling memberships over their capacity because they know that more than 50% of the people will drop out by the second week!

So in order to achieve what we actually want, we need to understand why these resolutions fail time after time.

1.      Resolutions are Vague

The first problem is that resolutions are just vague, some examples of these are:

  • Lose weight
  • Save money
  • Learn something new

However, if we analyze these resolutions, we notice that they are totally vague, they don’t tell you anything.  We need specificity to make something more tangible.    How much weight do you want to lose? how much money do you want to save? what do you want to learn exactly?

By doing this, you are transforming your resolution into a goal you can set yourself to achieve.

Think of the specific outcome you want and as a second step write it down!   Why you might ask?  Research has found that we have 42% more probability to achieve something if we write these goals down.

When you see it on paper, you will tend to think of the steps or how to break down the goal into pieces that slowly you can start achieving.

5 reasons resolutions fail

2.      Resolutions are boring.


A coaching client of mine came to a session and told me his new year’s resolution was to create his own website.  His background is in finance, so I asked him why he wanted to do this.   He said he thought it would be a good challenge.  Then I asked if he was excited about this challenge, and after a long pause, he confessed that he was not, and actually was feeling overwhelmed already by all the information he found, even before he got started.

So here it is important to remember that every goal is a project but not every project is a goal.   During our year we are going to have to tackle projects that we are not excited about.  But a goal should totally be the opposite, it should feel us with energy and excitement every time we think about it.

Defining in advance what is your WHY,  will help you get back on track and feel excited again if the going gets tough.  When writing down you why, think of what will you earn by achieving this goal, but also what will you lose if you don’t.  These help put things in a different life.

3.      Goals are too easy


Many times people get discouraged because the goals are too easy.   If you are an entrepreneur that made €75.000 last year, your new goal could be €100.000.   It makes it exciting and infuses some fear in you because it is something out of your comfort zone.  This is the perfect combination for a goal.

However, if we would set the goal to €78.000, it becomes too easy, there is no excitement at all, so we forget about it, because it falls within our comfort zone

Lastly, if we would set the goal of €10’000.000, it will be in the delusional zone and we will give up sooner rather than later.

4.      Overwhelming


Another factor that determines failure is the number of goals we set for ourselves.   It is impossible to work on 20 goals at a time and be successful in all of them.

Make 4-8 goals maximum, and focus on those only.   You could divide them by category: Physical and Emotional Health,  Personal growth, Career, Finance, Significant other, friends,  family, Fun and Leisure

Check out the post: Goal setting – 7 steps to setting and achieving your goals, for a bulletproof method to do this

5.      Easily forgotten

The final reason why resolutions fail is that they lack a process to review them, so you can evaluate and change the course if needed.

to ensure you achieve the goals you set for yourself, start by making them visible.  Choose a place you look at regularly, your agenda, your bulletin board, the screen saver of your computer, etc.

Set a process for yourself to review, weekly, monthly, and quarterly, and commit to it.  Make sure you block the time to perform this review, so it is not easily forgotten.


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