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Realistic Resolutions - Why are so many New Year's Resolutions doomed to fail?

Insight

06 January 2015

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Why New Year’s Resolutions can often be more of a hindrance than a help!

As I sat in my New Year’s Day haze with a few family and friends, the conversation, as it invariably does at that time of year, turned to New Year’s Resolutions. The standard ones all started getting rolled out: eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking. It made me think – how many of us actually think about what we really want to change in our lives and how committed are we to doing it?

Often, I think that people will just say these things, as they feel the need to match up to others who have set a goal for the year, or assume that they have to start the year off with something to aim for.

 

Personally, I find the whole concept of New Year’s Resolutions a little bit of a waste of time, if enough thought isn't put into them. Most of the time, people will stick to them for a few weeks and then just fall back into old habits and by the time the next year arrives, they’ll probably be worse off than they were when they set their original goal. This is often because people aren’t asking the ‘why’ question to themselves, they’re not considering why they really want to do something differently and what it will give them that they weren’t getting before. This leads to a lack of motivation to achieve the goal.

Another problem with these resolutions is the fact that they’re set right at the start of the year and then not reviewed until they're either achieved or not – why? Should we not be setting ourselves milestones on a monthly basis, a weekly basis, a daily basis? In setting one huge goal at the start of the year, people often feel overwhelmed and unable to achieve it. However, if you were to set yourself measurable goals on a more regular basis, with an overarching vision in mind, then many people will find that they are able to achieve much more.

 

So, my top tips to those of you who are setting resolutions at this time of year are:

 

  1. Choose something that you really do want to change and make sure that it means something to you. Doing this will give you extra motivation to achieve it. 
  2. Pick something that is going to be ambitious but achievable. An unattainable goal will only discourage you from seeing it through. 
  3. Break the big vision down into smaller goals and milestones that you can aim for across the whole of the year. 
  4. Regularly review your progress, if you’re overachieving or underachieving then maybe you need to change your smaller.
  5. Always keep the main goal in mind; this is what you’re aiming for at the end of the day and should give you the motivation to keep going, even when things are tough.
  6. Share your progress with others. Friends and family are a great source of support and can help to motivate and push you on to make sure you succeed.

 

If you haven’t set a New Year’s Resolution then don’t worry, you are allowed to set a goal for yourself at any point in the year! Don’t limit yourself to setting a goal only once a year and don’t put something on hold just because you’re ‘waiting for the New Year to start’ before you can begin.

What are your thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions: Are they worthwhile and do they work? Have you set one this year? What are your tips for making sure they are achieved?

 

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