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December 26

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Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

By Cassie

December 26, 2022


‘Tis the time of year for all things jolly and all things change!  Most of us are completely overwhelmed with our Christmas to-do list and putting off everything else.  In the hangover of sugar and wrapping paper (and well… actual alcohol) we’ll wake on the 26th or even the 27th, start packing up Christmas and in a haphazard haze resolve ourselves to a fresh start in the new year!  But is this really the best way to do it or could this be exactly why new year’s resolutions fail?

What Goes Wrong

To better understand how to resolve your resolution frustration you must figure out where you’ve gone wrong in the past.  There is a reason why you were unable to stick to your previous plans and when you discover the pitfalls that snagged you up you can avoid them!  You know what they say… the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Let’s stop the insanity!

Haphazard Choices

How do you go about choosing your New Year’s Resolution? Do you randomly pick something? Do you spend about 5 minutes thinking “my life would be so much better if…” and settle on that?

When we choose our New Year’s Resolutions we generally do it in the 6 days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Essentially squashed between parties, cleaning, and undecorating. We wedge it into a limited, chaotic time and somehow expect ourselves to come up with something truly life altering.

Clearly that is NEVER going to work! How committed can you really be to something you chose off the top of your head in a moment of distraction? How much clarity can you have about your goals? The thought that you can randomly pull an idea out of thin air and have it stick is really oversimplifying and minimizing the process of change. Even if you have “always wanted” this change, it isn’t this simple. And if choosing your New Year’s Resolutions in this haphazard way is part of why they’re doomed to fail.

Over Committing

How BIG have your resolutions been?  Are you doing a complete life or health overhaul?  Often, we have too many resolutions or we choose one that is too broad and never bother to break it down into smaller parts!

It’s a grand goal to want to get healthy or lose weight but what are the actionable items there.  Is it some vague pie in the sky ideal?  Are there 5 or even 15 tasks you’ve associated with your resolution that you are suddenly going to include in your daily life? 

Very often we bite off more than we can chew!  We have great intentions, but you can’t overhaul your entire life in one fail swoop and expect it to stick!  You’ll find yourself becoming frustrated, overwhelmed and eventually you’ll burn out. 

This is so common that there’s an actual burn out date… March 2!  By March 2nd about 80% of people who made resolutions quit!  Can you imagine what would happen if you were able to stick to your resolution even a couple months longer?!?!  In the health and weight loss world quitting March 2 means gaining all the weight back and then some just in time for summer rather than being at your goal weight! Which is one of the most frustrating things that happens when New Year’s Resolutions fail.

Failing to Plan

You know the saying if you fail to plan you plan to fail?  There are few truer things said!  Somehow, we expect that we will magically be transported to our best selves simply by stating our resolution!  Why don’t we take the planning component more seriously?  Well… because we don’t have time (or we don’t take the time)!  How do you expect to achieve your lofty goals if you don’t make a plan or a road map or even a basic outline as to how to get there?

Planning keeps you on task and prevents you from taking everything on at once and becoming overwhelmed!  We all know that we need a plan!

Lack of Accountability

Speaking of keeping you on task… few things help more with that than having accountability!  Don’t go it alone! 

It makes sense that we so often avoid accountability!  Asking for accountability or simply telling someone what your resolution is might be embarrassing.  Especially if you’ve had the same one for 5 years running (or more)!  But again, how’s that working for you?  Are you getting any closer to accomplishing what you’ve set out to do?

Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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I’m betting you could identify with at least one of the pitfalls of New Year’s Resolutions.  And I’ll also bet that you’re done with all that!  Making your resolutions stick this coming year isn’t rocket science.  It can be done!  Imagine what it would look like this time next year if you were able to accomplish exactly what you set out to do on Jan 1! 

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