It’s New Year’s Eve! And that means out with the old, in with the new. January 1 is a day many of us commit to goals for the next year. Of course, the top resolutions usually have to do with weight loss, exercise, and finances. In my perusal of various sources on the internet, statistics vary widely, but this page gives a nice summary of various resolutions stats, and they show that as little as 8% of people actually keep their resolutions! Why can’t people keep their resolutions? Surely, they are motivated by something to choose various goals for themselves for the coming year, so why do they almost always fail? I can think of at least 5 reasons people fail at keeping their resolutions.
1. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Say you decide on a resolution to lose weight in the coming year. Great! But how much weight? And how are you going to do it? What are you going to do when the going get tough? In order to reach any goal, you have to do create a plan that will realistically bring you to that goal. Otherwise you are just making a wish or stating a want and you will fail.
What specific changes will you make to get to your goal? You could start tracking what you eat, and then decide what changes you need to make, make changes, and keep tracking so you can look back and see if your changes are working (or you could sign up for my Challenge Group and I’ll help you figure out what to eat, just sayin’). How many pounds to you expect to lose? Realistically, it is very difficult to maintain more than a loss of 2 pounds per week. Don’t set goals that are impossible. That will only discourage you and you will likely give up.
So be sure to make a realistic plan to succeed at your resolutions!
2. You fail to set priorities and keep them.
If your resolution is to exercise more, how are you going to do that if you don’t make it a priority? Obviously you weren’t exercising as much as you wanted to in the previous year, so what is going to change if you don’t set time to exercise as a high priority and keep it there? I’m a big believer in making appointments with yourself to help you reach your goals. Just like you would keep an appointment to see the doctor, you should keep appointments with yourself to exercise. Pick a time to exercise tomorrow, and keep it.
I hope to exercise in the morning before the kids are up. But most days I have an optional time to exercise (6:30pm when the kids are in front of the TV for a little bit), so I usually don’t force myself to get up if I don’t want to when my alarm first goes off. This works for me because I almost always have the option to exercise in the evening instead. If I know I won’t be able to fit in a workout in the evening, I do force myself to get up because that’s the priority I’ve set for myself, and I’m keeping it. Resolutions often have to do with self-care, and keeping self-care a priority will go a long way in helping you succeed in your resolutions.
3. You refused to burn your boats.
Let’s imagine you want to eat better in the new year. But you have potato chips on top of your fridge, candy in the cupboard, and you get your lunch from a fast food joint or the vending machine at work. You’re not going to eat better if all you see are the foods that you wanted to eat less of. So throw out the chips and the candy, and start packing your lunch (btw, a Challenge Group is a great place to start if you have no idea what to pack for lunch. Meal prepping for the win!).
You won’t succeed if you keep all of the things that enabled the behavior you want to change. If you’re serious about making changes, you have to actually make some changes.
4. You don’t track your progress.
How are you going to know if you are getting smaller in order to fit into the clothes you outgrew last year if you’re not measuring and tracking your progress? In the health and fitness world, you’ll see that a lot of people take progress pictures at set intervals. A good rule of thumb is to take progress pictures once a month. If you take them more often, it may be difficult to see any changes and you may get discouraged. Personally, I took progress pictures monthly throughout 2016, and even that was too often to see much change. I’d get discouraged that I didn’t have a dramatic change in 1 month, slide backwards for a few days, then jump back in again (in the latter half of the year I had my fellow Beachbody Coaches to help me jump back in and my slides were shorter). I mean, look at the difference in these comparisons:
You can see a little bit of progress in the first set with a difference of 30 days, but you can see a ton of progress in the second set with a difference of over 5 months. The key here is that even slow progress IS progress. If you’re not measuring progress in some way, you may not notice that you are indeed making progress over time.
5. You didn’t figure out why you made these resolutions.
I’ll say it over and over. If you don’t know your “why”, you will give up on your goals before you ever really get started. Try it. Why do you want to lose x number of pounds? You want to fit into certain clothes. Why do you want to fit into those clothes? You’re recently single and those are the clothes you feel the most confident in, and confidence is key when reentering the dating scene. That’s a pretty solid why.
Here’s another example: Why do you want to eat better? You don’t want to keep gaining weight and feeling unwell. Why don’t you want to keep gaining weight and feeling unwell? You have a family medical history of early heart attacks that diminish quality of life, and you don’t want that to happen to you, your spouse, and your kids. Another solid why.
So set your resolutions, but keep asking yourself why questions until you find the reason that really resonates with you. Then keep that reason written down somewhere so you will see it when the going gets tough (I can help you with this one, too! I’m happy to give you the kick in the pants you need to keep pushing towards your goals.).
So rethink your resolutions!
Here are your action steps for succeeding in your resolutions for 2017:
- Make a plan!
- Set your priorities and keep them.
- Remove all obstacles/enablers from your physical space.
- Track your progress (I have this awesome planner with the fitness expansion and the My Challenge Tracker app to track my progress. If you join my Challenge Group, I’ll add you on My Challenge Tracker!).
- Figure out your “why” and keep it where you’ll be reminded of your true motivations regularly.
If your resolutions include health and fitness goals for 2017, I’m sure I can help you get there. Check out my Get Fit, Get Happy in 2017 group. Sign up before the ball drops and I have freebies and a $20 gift card to any retailer you choose.
Here’s to 2017!