Why New Year Resolutions are Killing Your Progress

Why New Year Resolutions are Killing Your Progress
Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

How many of us have said, “This year, I want to be healthier or better with money?” While there’s nothing wrong with having goals like that. Putting them off until January 1 can be setting you up for failure. I’ll give you five reasons why New Year’s resolutions may be killing your progress toward self-improvement. 

1. It’s like a crash diet. 

How many people have started a diet on Monday with the goal of losing weight or eating better? While the idea behind it is a good one, it often fails because the method is lacking. When you try to change deep habits all at once, like quitting smoking, spending less, or getting organized, it’s like trying to change who you are in one day.  

Here’s an alternative. Instead of making a hard right with a resolution, try incorporating small steps a little at a time. For instance, if you want to eat better, try setting a water drinking goal first, then cutting out sweets for a week, then eating fewer fast foods, etc. As you adopt healthy choices, your goal is realized and easier to stick to.  

2. Goal is too broad   

Often Resolutions fail because they aren’t specific enough.  
“I want to be healthier” or 
“I want to be better with money” 

Having a general idea of where you’re going without an exact destination or a map may get you somewhere, but it may not be where you wanted. You might end up even worse off than where you started. 

Instead, try narrowing down your goal so that it’s easy to define. Maybe use, “I’m going to work out twice a week” or “I’m going to save $50 out of every paycheck for three months to start a rainy-day fund.”  

Making your goal identifiable and measurable will go a long way. Not only Set your goal, but plan out how you intend to get there. 

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3. No accountability 

Sometimes we can start slow, have a realistic goal, and still fail. This could be because we did not hold ourselves accountable to anyone. This applies for those of us that don’t announce our intent to change in public. 

Having a close friend check in with you periodically or asking someone to make the same commitment can be good in helping you stick to it. 

It adds a sense of responsibility when you have to answer for cleaning out a pack of cookies or going on a shopping spree on an impulse.  

4. Failing means more 

Have you ever been so excited about an event just to be let down when it arrived? Maybe it was not what you expected it to be. Disappointment can feel much greater when the anticipation has been built up over time. 

Let’s say you resolve to visit with family more in the new year. You announce this to your loved ones and make plans to carry this out. However, life always throws curveballs, doesn’t it? Maybe you get a new job and can’t travel. What if you get sick and aren't able to follow through with your plans. Sure, your family understands, but the feeling of failing at a goal you built up can be disheartening. If we fail, or do not succeed the way we want, it can hold more meaning. Which brings me to the next point. 

5. Reluctance to resume 

If we fall off the horse, we need to find the determination to get on again. You have to find your ‘why’ for changing in the first place. Is it worth persevering? Should you sacrifice things you didn’t realize you had to? The answer is a resounding yes. Maybe you were tired of the way things were and you set out on this path. Maybe something happened to make you see things in a different way and caused you to see the importance of bettering yourself. Whichever, you need to have a firm mindset to stay on course. 

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You may ask, " It’s the New Year now, why not resolve anyway?"
To that, I say, “Are you ready?” 
Are you actually ready to reach for your goal? Again, mindset has a lot to do with it, this is different from motivation. Motivation is “I feel like doing it.” Mindset is “I need to do this.” It is driven from an internal force. Whatever your reasoning for wanting to change things, keep your ‘why’ in view. Set the goal, make the plan, take the steps, and reach your goal. Set yourself up for success rather than another broken resolution. You can do it! 

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Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

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