The start of a New Year brings new enthusiasm, optimism and a desire to make changes for the better. While setting resolutions are good, studies have revealed that the majority of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions within a month, if not earlier.
Most New Year’s resolutions are related to weight loss, eating healthier, earning more money, improving finances, getting a better job, getting into a new relationship, or improving existing relationships. When we abandon our New Year’s resolutions, it can lower our self-esteem and our self-confidence, and cause us to believe that we’re incapable of making positive changes in our lives. This can leave us feeling worse about ourselves than when we actually set those New Year’s resolutions.
Studies have shown that there are some common mistakes when it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions and once we’re able to address these mistakes, we’re more likely to actually achieve what we set out to do. Here are seven common mistakes we tend to make when setting New Year’s resolutions and what can be done to avoid them.
- Resolutions are intentions, not goals. This is one of the main reasons why resolutions do not work. They are usually set from a place of weakness or frustration rather than from a place of confidence or strength. Resolutions are typically very vague like, I’d like to eat healthier this year or I’d like to improve my finances this year rather than stated as specific, measurable goals within a set timeframe.
Action: Convert your New Year’s resolutions into goals that have a deadline, is specific and measurable. For example, rather than saying I’d like to improve my finances this year, instead state it as I will earn an additional (state amount) of income by June 30, 2015.
- We tend to set too many resolutions. It is very easy to want to change more things than we can handle. When we overcommit ourselves, it can leave us feeling stressed, overwhelmed, confused and that’s when we’re more likely to abandon our resolutions or goals.
Action: Select the one thing that is most important to you and focus on that only to start off with. Once you’re comfortable with your progress, you can add in something else to focus on.
- Setting unrealistic resolutions. Oftentimes, we want to achieve things that are not practical or realistic within our desired timeframe. For example, wanting to lose 30 pounds or 13 kilograms in 10 days may not be very realistic. The downside to this is when we don’t achieve what we want to, we will start to question our abilities, which can decrease our self-confidence. We want to set ourselves up for success, not failure.
Action: Set goals that will challenge you but also not cause you to want to quit. Research others who have accomplished what you want to in order to get a more realistic timeframe.
- Not having a plan to follow. It has been said that when we fail to plan, we’re planning to fail. In order to achieve something worthwhile or something that is worthy of our time and energy, we must have a plan to follow. While we may not have to know the whole plan, we must know what our next action step is.
Action: Create a plan for how you are going to achieve your resolutions or goals. At a minimum, identify the next action step you will take to achieve each of your goals.
- Not expecting challenges or obstacles. Very rarely do things go as planned. While having a plan is extremely valuable, we must be prepared to deal with unexpected things that can take us off track. Knowing how to get back on track when things don’t go as planned is extremely important because there is one certainty — we will face challenges on our way to achieving our goals.
Action: Identify your key motivators for each of your resolutions or goals. Why do you want to achieve those goals? And also identify what you can do when you start getting off track. Who can you ask for help or advice?
- Failing to set up supportive environments. Our environments, especially our physical environment, play a crucial part when it comes to achieving our goals. For example, if someone has a set a resolution to eat healthier, then it will be helpful to get rid of any junk food in the house. Having supportive environments also means having the right people around you, who will ensure you follow through on your plan and hold you accountable.
Action: Identify what support you will need and what things you need to add to your environments in order to achieve your goals. Do you need to eliminate things from your home? Do you need a coach or an accountability partner? Once you have identified them, do what’s necessary to put them in place.
- Not addressing internal beliefs or emotional issues. This is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks for most of us. Our internal issues and beliefs are controlling how we think, what we feel and how we behave. Our external world mirrors our internal world. If there is anything in our external world we don’t like or want, then it’s almost always due to an internal belief or an emotional issue that we haven’t addressed yet.
Action: For each of your resolutions or goals, list down what your current thoughts or beliefs are toward it. Are those beliefs empowering or disempowering? If you have any negative or limiting beliefs, create statements that are the polar opposite of those beliefs and read them over and over until those statements become your new beliefs. Also, consider getting professional help to address any internal beliefs or emotional issues you may have.
Our desire to improve, grow and make positive changes in our lives is what makes us human. By becoming aware of these common mistakes when it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, we’ll be in a much better position to set ourselves up for success. Best of luck in achieving your resolutions and goals this year.
Question: What things will you put in place to ensure you achieve your New Year’s resolutions or goals?
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