New Year Resolutions

It’s been a month since the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve were all the hype, along with the excitement of New Year resolutions. Today, the year is no longer new, and it’s safe to assume that the majority of its resolutions haven’t been implemented.

It’s common knowledge that most New Year resolutions go nowhere. But why? Well, the reasons are many, and they vary from one person to another.

January 2016 calendarMisunderstanding the terminology

In the pursuit of meaningful transformations, it is important to properly label your thoughts and actions. When people talk about “motivation”, for example, they often define it as a sense of being enthusiastic and energized. However, motivation as a “spur of the moment” idea is just that … a spur of the moment “idea”, not the powerful force that it can actually be. It’s important to differentiate between being temporarily excited about a New Year resolution, and being fully engaged in making that same New Year resolution a reality. Understanding what you’re committing to can greatly influence the end result.

Unrealistic and/or unachievable goals

Many New Year resolutions fail because the goals people set for themselves are often too big. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and things will only produce results in due time, so expecting something unrealistic and unachievable to happen is actually counterproductive, not motivational. Plus, it’ never a good thing to over promise and under deliver, even when your making these commitments to yourself.

New Year wishesNonspecific goals

People have a tendency to set vague or general goals just to allow themselves some wiggle room for when they are working towards achieving these goals. But “wanting to lose weight” is never as effective a goal as “wanting to lose 10 lbs in 3 months”. Setting general goals might initially be less intimidating, but it will only add to the confusion when you look back and try to remember what exactly you were trying to accomplish.

No plan, no good plan or no proper implementation of a good plan

Truth be told, any sudden burst of positive energy is a good thing, but it can only be meaningful if it’s harnessed the right way. Motivation alone is not enough; you need a plan in place to put your ideas into action. And it can’t be just any plan. It should be a well thought-out plan that is clearly understood and properly implemented. There is no point in investing time and energy in a terrible plan, and by the same token, the best plan in the world will not work for you if you’re not willing to invest the time and energy required to make it happen.

New Year goalsEnthusiasm fatigue

People who are not used to motivating themselves often have difficulty achieving their goals, but even those who rely on their inner strength for encouragement are sometimes challenged by enthusiasm fatigue. Being able to pull yourself up and stay positive is excellent, but having to do that too often becomes tiresome. Inner strength and optimism are not infinite, and all the best intentions in the world may not be enough when your emotional turbulence is out of control.

So … what’s the solution?

Well between ideas and goals, success can either flourish or wither. Wanting to lose weight, quit smoking, get a better job, start a new hobby, achieve a childhood dream, etc. is great … but simply wishing it is never enough. What you need to do is self-reflect first, then position yourself for success before taking any action.

  1. Be clear about what you want and what you’re really willing to commit to.
  2. Set realistic, achievable and specific goals.
  3. Develop a solid plan, with milestones.
  4. Stick to your plan and be disciplined.
  5. Stay motivated by celebrating your successes.
  6. Aim for long-term benefits.
  7. Learn about your willpower and support it with healthy choices.
  8. Be flexible, try different ways and learn from your mistakes.