Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?
Well here we are running headlong into 2018 and it’s getting to that time when New Year’s resolutions need to kick in. Let’s see…..do more travelling, be less stressed about trivia, clean up my diet, oh yes and of course join the gym!
And off we set with the very best of intentions. What, however, will we be doing in March? An unfortunate fact is that up to 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. So why do our good intentions tarnish so quickly and we fall into the trap of business as usual.
Here at Macnaughton McGregor our main aim is to drive positive and sustainable change for our clients. So how can we ensure that the best foot we put forward on January the 1st is the one we lead with for the rest of the year.
Five traps we might fall into and what we can do:
- No outcome
What’s wrong with the goal: “I will join the gym”? Nothing at all – as an input goal but there’s no aim there and no measure of success. Start with the end in mind and be clear on what it is you are aiming for.
For a bit of motivation on a Tuesday night in late January you need a fuller idea of the outcome to use as your motivation. What is the outcome and what are the benefits that come with that? Why are you doing it and what will the effort give you in the medium to long term.
What level of fitness do I want to aim for by the Summer?
What will the benefits be for you eg more energy, sleeping better, able to deal with stress……….your personal list.
From a clear and well-defined end goal, with an accompanying set of actions, we can clearly see if we are achieving what we set out to achieve and change our course if we are not staying on track.
- No achievable steps
We may never have set foot in a gym in our life and after 3 weeks we start to look for shadows of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the mirror. When we put in a lot of effort and don’t see it, we become frustrated, demoralised and wonder why we bothered.
Before we set off anywhere we need to know where we are starting from. Take realistic stock of where you are now, what you can reasonably achieve – a bit of a stretch yes but achievable none the same
Think about setting a number of small steps, realistic touch points against which you can measure your progress.
- Lack of support
To help your training you might decide to cut back on alcohol and eat better – leading to better results, right? But, hold on, my partner likes a glass of wine with dinner and they’re not going to stop that and there’s always biscuits in meetings at work.
The environment in which we find ourselves has an effect upon our behaviours. If temptation is always in front of us we may stumble early and from then on it can be difficult to get back on track. Any resolution to change that tests our will-power needs ongoing support and encouragement to succeed. Ask yourself:
Can I find someone that shares my common goal? We can spur each other on.
Can I join a club or group?
How can I be assertive with people around me so they understand this is important to me and what do I want them to do to support me?
- Delay tactics
There is always an excuse not to do something, there will always be obstacles in the way. It’s how we respond to them that matters We can get off to so many false starts and “exceptions to the rule” that we never really start.
You can see challenges as an excuse not to do something or you can see them as an opportunity to adapt your approach for the long term – making those mini choices will set you up to deal with everyday life.
- You don’t really care!
If you use the word “should” anywhere in your resolutions, it’s a good indicator that you’re not really personally convinced!
Before making your resolution ask some fundamental questions:
Am I doing this for me or someone else?
Supposing I don’t do what I set out to do are there any consequences, will I be missing out on something?
What am I prepared to do to get what I want?
We will always find the time and resources do the things that we care about or the things that really matter to us so it’s worth exploring it further before you start – you can also use those answers to bolster your resolve later.
Of course we can probably all get by ok with no personal changes but if you want to see the results and make a difference for yourself its worth taking the “wish list” and doing a bit more work. That way you’ll make them stick and importantly see the results not just the effort. Life is only made up of individual moments, the future is not written, and we cannot change the past, but we can change each moment at a time.
The same rules apply to our working life so to translate to more business type words:
- Get both outcome goal and input goals
- Timeline some process goals which you can use as interim aims and checkpoints
- Build support around you by asking for it and being assertive
- Get started with small steps and new choices
- Create commitment by thinking about the consequences of not achieving
Happy New Year and good luck with all of your endeavours throughout the whole of 2018 from.