Everyone makes them, and everyone seems to break them: New Year's Resolutions. They're a part of the cultural lexicon that we can't escape. Within the first few days of January, we've all heard someone say, "I'm going to lose ten pounds this year." or "I'm going to exercise every day this year." It sounds great in theory, but resolutions rarely stick. University of Scranton's research suggests only 8% of people successfully achieve their goals. Why is that?
Here are the reasons why many people fail at goal-setting and the secrets behind those who succeed.
The Resolutions are Too Ambitious
Overly ambitious goals are a significant cause of failure. While making lofty goals for 2022 may initially motivate you, the spark of these resolutions fades away easily when you realize how tough it is to keep them.
What's the best way to set and achieve a goal? Keep it small and straightforward. You might want to try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. If you aim to lose weight, commit to exercising for just 10 minutes every day, then add more minutes as you feel more comfortable. If you want to start a healthy diet, like quitting sweets. Try to look for healthier replacements first, instead of ditching sugar altogether. These small, gradual lifestyle changes may feel less appealing, but they have a much better chance of producing lasting results.
According to psychologist Lynn Bufka, “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for. It is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”
The Resolutions are Too Vague
It is hard to get there when you don't know where you're going. When setting your resolutions, have a specific destination.
For instance, what does it mean to make a resolution to lose weight? There are several ways of losing weight, and the solution you make should specify which one you will follow.
“It is much easier to follow a plan that says no potato chips, fries, or ice cream for six weeks,” he adds.
Set a clear and measurable goal. Don't just say, "I will exercise more this 2022". Set a goal like committing to exercise for 10 minutes every day.
You can determine if you have succeeded or failed at your resolution by specifying your goal.
Fail to Plan
Most of today's self-help gurus will tell you that if you want to be successful, you should set goals and make a resolution to achieve those goals. That sounds like pretty good advice, but what most people don't do is plan out how they will reach those goals.
When creating a resolution for the new year, it's essential to take some time to figure out how that goal is going to happen. For example, if you resolve to lose 20 pounds in the next six months, you need a plan of action that shows you how to reach that goal.
Lack of Motivation
When you set your resolution, ask yourself why you want to make the change?
The way you motivate yourself will determine whether or not you stick with a goal. The most effective motivators are intrinsic, not extrinsic.
This means that the best way to stay motivated is to think about the positive outcomes of your goals instead of external rewards. For example, if money was your only motivator when trying to lose weight, you would probably eventually lose interest in the goal once you reached your desired weight.
Intrinsic motivation is about building a habit and sticking to it for the long haul no matter how tough it gets, and this is how you make a fundamental change in your life.
Those who successfully meet their goals achieve them because they are motivated enough to push themselves through the tough times.
Lack of Support Group
Who can support you as you work toward change?
When you set a goal to lose weight, get fit, or quit sweets, the most crucial part of your goal is having a support group. Many studies show that people who work towards their goals with a group are more successful than those who try to do it alone.
If you want to change, you have to surround yourself with the right people. This is true for any endeavor in life, but especially regarding health and wellness resolutions.
If you feel overwhelmed with your goals, consider talking to people who care about you.
You may also consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are equipped with the knowledge to understand the connection between the mind and the body. They can provide techniques or strategies in making your goals more achievable and assist you in changing unhealthy behaviors and addressing emotional issues.
Whether you have already created your resolutions for 2022, or are in the process of creating them, consider these:
- Make your resolutions small and simple.
- Make your resolutions specific, and quantifiable.
- Plan on how you achieve them.
- Stay motivated through tough times.
- Have a support system to help you through the process.
You got this!