In a few days’ time, we’d all be bidding farewell to 2021 as we step into the new year. A common practice at this time of the year is coming up with a list of goals for the New Year. This could be anything from quitting smoking to being more serious about your relationships. However, statistics have shown us that 80% of people fail to keep their new year’s resolutions. In fact, a great majority of new year’s resolutions are abandoned in the first month of the new year.
So, what makes the New Year resolutions so difficult to maintain? Well, part of it is because most people go about it the wrong way. Yes, new year resolutions are much more than just writing down your plans for the new year. If you indeed want to follow through with your resolutions, then it is worth knowing that there is a good way and a bad way to go about it. With this knowledge, you are more likely to be among the 20% who achieve their resolutions in 2022.
Where Most People Go Wrong
There are a number of factors that lead to faulty New Year resolutions. Sadly, once the foundation of your resolution is not strong enough, anything you are building for the New Year will eventually crash. Below are the places where a lot of people get it wrong.
#1. They make resolutions out of pressure
We are all too familiar with the good old peer pressure. Nevertheless, we still fall so often into its trap. Many people set new year resolutions not because they have any inclination to, but because their friends or colleagues are doing so. Imagine being in a group of people and they are all talking about making big moves or major changes to their lives next year. Surely, you’d be pressured to do the same. However, going about the New Year’s resolution this way is wrong and many times would lead to frustration and eventual failure to follow up.
#2. They set unattainable goals
Now, let’s say you haven’t really lived up to your expectations this year despite being really pumped at the beginning of the year. This could make you feel discouraged and reluctant to set new goals for next year. One possible reason why your previous resolution tanked is that your goals were unattainable. Take for instance you resolved to be happy or successful, this is too broad and definitely not actionable. Keep reading if you want to know how to set real and actionable goals.
#3. They are not prepared for failure
What happens when all the New Year hype fades away and you’re struggling to catch up with your resolutions? Gradually you begin to slip here and there and when this happens most people give up. The fact that you’re crossing over to a New Year, doesn’t mean you won’t encounter failures. So, you should expect to slip up once in a while and even feel like giving up together. Nevertheless, like most other endeavors, slipping up on your resolutions shouldn’t be a reason to give up. Remember, the goal is to remain consistent and not to be perfect.
#4. They try to get everything done all at once
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew” is a popular yet commonly ignored idiom. At a time when multitasking is seen as an industry skill, it is not surprising to see people try to take on more than they are capable of handling effectively. This holds true even for New Year resolutions. Most people take pride in writing up a long list of resolutions but if you’re doing this, then you are just setting up yourself for failure. It’s like trying to break in new habits, the best approach is to take it one at a time.
How To Make A Good New Year’s Resolution
Now that you know why you failed to follow through with your past resolutions, let’s show you how you can make better resolutions with a higher probability of success. Here are some tips you can follow;
#1. Write it down
Like everything else, a good New Year resolution requires planning and by planning, we mean putting pen on paper. Writing down your resolutions is an intentional act that reinforces the idea in your mind and increases your commitment to seeing it through. It also forces you to think critically about your resolutions. This will help you avoid the common pitfalls that most people fail to consider when setting their goals.
#2. Start with a dry run
You don’t have to wait until the New Year to start living your resolutions. Despite being called a New Year’s resolution, starting a few weeks before the new year is not really breaking the tradition. Think about it this way, the actors and actresses in a play practice for several days before the actual play. The benefit of this is that it lets you have the actual experience without the pressure of commitment. It is also a great way to see how much you can take on come January. A dry run equally acts as a springboard on which you can gather sufficient momentum to lunch your new year’s resolutions.
#3. Take it one step at a time
Like any new project, making a decision to change your life can be very exciting. You begin to imagine yourself living your best life, having the perfect physique, being financially stable, crushing your relationship goals, etc. While imagination can be a very good source of motivation, it can equally lead to impatience or anxiety and eventual failure to follow through with your resolutions. This is because you may be tempted to pursue your goals all at once and this will only increase your chances of failure. To stay on top of things, endeavor to take on your goals one at a time.
#4. Consider it a project with no rigid time frame
When working on a good New Year’s resolution, your mindset matters a lot. Most people start off on the right track but as time goes they begin to falter. Why? Because they aren’t seeing any gains or more precisely, it is not coming as soon as they expected it. Taking a decision to change your life can be very tough and having unrealistic deadlines and expectations will only make matters worst.
This is why you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Be flexible and develop the mindset that working on yourself is a long-term project. As long as you remain dedicated and consistent, you will see changes. Don’t forget it takes between 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, so don’t try to rush it.
#5. Set clear and precise goals
One of the keys to having a good New Year’s resolution is knowing how to set goals. While goal setting may seem obvious at first, there is more to it. Take for instance your goal is to be happy and successful. At first glance, this looks like a good New Year’s resolution but let’s take a closer look at it.
Success and happiness are not nearly definitive enough to be attainable. The ambiguous nature of these goals shows a lack of clarity. You have to break each one down into something actionable. To do this, you must ask yourself specific questions like, what does success mean to me? This could be getting a new job with a better salary, losing weight, or starting a new business.
#6. Keep track of your progress
Tracking your progress is a good way to get some extra motivation when needed, because, believe it or not, you’d need it down the line. You won’t always be motivated and sometimes you may actually feel like quitting. However, when you look down at how far you’ve come, how much effort has been invested, and how much gains (no matter how little) have been achieved, then you are less likely to give up. A progress journal could be all you need to keep going when you feel like throwing in the towel.
Following the strategies above, there’s no doubt you’d have nailed the art of making a good New Year’s resolution. But, before you run off, here’s a point worth reiterating. Resolutions for the most part are about staying committed and consistent. No matter how great your plans are, without commitment, you’re just about as good as not having any plans. That said, we’d like to know what resolutions you have for the New Year. Do share them in the comment box below.