Are you failing your new year resolutions?

Taking steps to minimise the pressure may be a healthier approach for success.

Many people like to start the year – or feel somewhat pressured to, with a new year’s resolution. This is usually a specific goal that they would like to achieve in the upcoming year. A new beginning fills us with a lot of hope and promise that somehow, this time round, things will be different and we will manage to commit to our goals.  Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, approximately 90% of goals are abandoned in a couple of months after the new year (Griffiths, 2016).

So what is it about these resolutions that mostly end up in failure?  One of the reasons could be that we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, expecting that just because it’s a new year, there’s this magical force helping us to achieve our goals.  Unfortunately, hope alone is not enough.  As humans, drastically changing something in our lifestyle makes it much more challenging to commit to.  Nonetheless, people tend to expect these drastic changes to stick. 

At times,  we may not be ready to change. Ironically, by setting New Year’s resolutions you may not be giving yourself the right mindset to embrace change. If you know that you always fail to follow up on your New Year’s resolutions you may then feel helpless and associate change with failure. So what can we do to avoid repeating this vicious cycle?

1. Focus on your strengths and continue building on them

It may be a good idea to look at what you have achieved the previous year and continue building on your strengths. By setting realistic goals, you will be taking multiple small steps that will then lead to a significant change.

2. Set specific and realistic goals

It is also noteworthy to consider the kinds of goals we set for ourselves.  Opt for specific goals, rather than grand gestures by creating routines which are doable. For example, if you would like to work out more, set a definite milestone; such as completing 30 minutes on a treadmill and then continue adding more goals by time.

3. Don’t believe the hype

At times, trying to live up to the lustre of the New Year may be daunting. Conversely, waiting for a new year to start to make a change might delay your chances of progress. Choose the right time to make changes in your lifestyle. Be kind to yourself and choose changes that will be beneficial for you.

4. Positivity is contagious

Having a good support system always helps; especially when trying to make significant changes to your lifestyle. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and know you well.  At times we might need a helping hand to continue moving forward on our journey of change.

5. Don’t forget to set reminders

In a world immersed in technology and endless applications, it may be a good idea to use our gadgets to help us stay focused. Whether it’s through using budgeting apps to track your spending habits or setting daily reminders for important errands and meetings, technology can aid us in remembering what needs to be done. Reminders are also practical because they are written evidence of what we have managed to achieve so far. So whenever you may feel doubtful about your progress, just open your calendar to see how far you’ve already come!

Change is rarely easy and comfort zones make it easy to fall back to old habits. So keep in mind to make every day count and to believe that change is possible. After all, each year brings with it different adventures and challenges that continue to help us grow further.

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