By now you must have made your New Year’s resolutions and you hope that this time, they won’t be thrown away, along with the holiday ribbons and leftover food. Okay…maybe not that early but eventually. The US News & World Report says that 80 percent of these resolutions fail to go beyond Valentine’s Day or thereabouts. It’s a depressing thought.
But, with that in mind, shouldn’t you be looking for the reasons why you keep breaking the New Year’s resolutions you make? Here are some obstacles that hinder you from successfully carrying out your year-long goals through to the coming December, and onwards. By learning about them, you can avoid these mistakes and congratulate yourself by year’s end.
1. You don’t have specific steps in place.
You can’t simply say “I’ll quit smoking,” or “I promise to lose 20 lbs this year,” or “I’ll pay off my credit card debts” and expect to achieve them if you’re not even sure how to do so. That’s setting yourself up for failure. Keeping resolutions entail having a series of steps or a plan of action.
The trick is to break down your big goals into smaller ones within a timeframe to motivate you into achieving them. If you resolve to quit smoking, actively seek the ways you think will be effective for you – go cold turkey or cut down gradually, or with behavioral therapy. Research finds that these methods work. For health goals, don’t overhaul your eating habits all at once. Resolve to increase your intake of healthy foods by a cup a week and reduce red meat and unhealthy carbs slowly. Study your debts or seek the advice of a financial planner to manage your financial matters.
2. You don’t keep track of your progress.
When your monitoring of your New Year’s resolutions is all in your head, the tendency to forget them or know where you’re at, at a certain stage, is real, so you end up discarding them altogether.
Sticking to your resolutions is easier if you measure your progress along the way. Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, keep a record of your accomplishments on your calendar or use one of the many free tracking apps. Log the miles you have run, monitor the reduction in your smoking, or write down your acts of kindness.
The sight of your progress lets you know how you are coming along and serves as a powerful drive for you to continue towards the successful attainment of your goals.
3. You have unrealistically grand dreams.
If you’re a size 14 and you put a picture of a skinny model on your fridge, hoping to have that body in time for your Valentine’s date, that counts as a grand and unrealistic dream. So is snagging a six-figure salary job without sending out resumes or expanding your skills.
It’s alright to dream big but to make them happen, divide them into smaller dreams. Pace your weight loss goals into smaller achievable ones, like shedding off these many pounds per week or month. Take courses to improve your talents and skills so that you can land a better paying job.
4. You quit at the slightest hint of failure.
Failures and blocks will pop up and discourage you from sticking to your resolutions. Your credit card is maxed out but that item you’ve been eyeing for the longest time is now on sale, so you buy it. Your resolution to be more patient is being tried and you blow up at your co-worker for not meeting the deadline.
Have some self-compassion. Return the purchase or live with it. Make amends. The road to your destination will have potholes and stumbling blocks. Don’t be discouraged. Go a little slower and get up when you fall. As a famous athlete once said, “The struggle is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”
5. You don’t have a support system.
Sometimes, willpower and determination aren’t enough to help you sustain New Year’s resolutions you’ve begun on. Although it’s possible, having supportive families and friends make it easier. They will encourage you when you feel like quitting and serve as your motivators for bad days.
A support system props you up and consoles you. They believe in you and for that alone, you feel accountable to them and you don’t want to let them down. Although you made those resolutions for yourself, it helps to be cheered on by caring people who won’t let you give up.
For all the years you’ve failed to maintain your New Year’s resolutions, this time, be different. Knowing why you break them is a step towards keeping them, at least for the next 12 months.