We all make different New Year’s resolutions, hoping we could be better during the next year, but unfortunately we often fail. We want to improve our lives, but this apparently is harder than it sounds. So, every January or February, we end up even more unsatisfied and unhappy with our own capabilities and will. But are we judging ourselves fairly? Are we so lazy and weak or there is something more complicated about New Year’s resolutions?
It turns out that our failure to stick to our promises is not a result of our weakness or lack of willpower. According to scientists who have studied people’s New Year’s resolutions, the reason for our failure is the fact that we simply don’t have a clear plan on how to achieve our goals. Instead of thinking about how to do this or that, we make several crucial mistakes that drives our resolution to total failure. However, knowing the “right” and “wrong” strategies can help us stick to our promises. If you know the five most common mistakes about New Year’s resolutions, you will be able to fix them and succeed this time.
Too many goals
Often people set many goals and no matter how good your list of New Year’s resolutions sounds, it’s probably too long. You won’t be able to achieve anything. Instead, one or two resolutions will keep you more focused on your efforts.
Many of the goals on your list are just too vague – “Try harder at work” or “Exercise more” are not measurable in any way. In order to accomplish a goal, you need to specify it for yourself – “I will work out one hour, four times a week” or “I will ask for more responsibilities in the office”. You need to measure and track your progress step by step.
This is the most common error when comes to New Year’s resolutions – when our goals are unrealistic, they are simply destined for failure. Instead of dreaming of the big success for instance, focus on just one aspect of your future success. Avoid unrealistic expectations and you won’t be disappointed.
Lack of a good plan
Even if our goal seems realistic and well specified, we can easily fail to achieve it if we don’t have a good, adequate strategy on how to do that. You need to plan ahead every step – how and when you will start, how will you achieve your sub-goal, and how will you move on to the next. Reach the first goal and then, you can start working for the second.
Lack of timelines
Usually, people think of starting their improved way of living on January 1, but it’s almost impossible to change your lifestyle in an instant, especially if you are tired of the New Year’s Eve party or having a terrible hangover. Another common error is to say “Next year I will…” Don’t ever say that! A better strategy will be “I will start doing something on January 5”. Timelines for starting your work are important, but timelines for completing are just as relevant. Plan well and decide on how long you will need to achieve your goal – a week, a month, or even more?
Achieving your New Year’s resolution goals is not so difficult when you have a good, clear plan. If you really want to quit smoking for instance, decide on a strategy – with willpower, with some healthier alternative, with professional help, and so on. The decision to lose weight is just as tough – do you know how to do that without harming your body and backfire? Once you avoid these common mistakes, you will realize you are not so weak and lazy after all.