5 REASONS WHY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FAIL

Vicki Sydor, MSW, RSW is a counsellor and Neuro Linguistic Programming Coach in Guelph, Ontario

And what you can do to succeed!!

We have all been there.  With the new year, comes new hope, a chance to start all over and make the upcoming year better than the last, an opportunity to have what we want, be who we want to be, look how we want to look.  And we really, really want it.

Some of us will succeed brilliantly.  Some of us will have success for a while – a month or so, some will last a week and some of us never really get out of the gate.  So why do some succeed but most fail?   Check out these 5 reasons most New Years Resolutions get put aside ‘til next year and so on and so on…

 

EATING AN ELEPHANT IN ONE BITE

That’s right!!  So often we set unrealistic goals that are just too big for us to reach.  Often, they are based on our ideal scenario.  “I will go to the gym 6 days/week”.

Well, if you are currently not going to the gym at all, what is the likelihood that you can adjust your routine so quickly to suddenly be going 6 days/week and stick with that?  It might work for a couple weeks but then you begin to feel overwhelmed.  It’s just too big a goal.

If you want to be in better shape, why not try to eat that elephant in little bites.  Break it down.  Start going to the gym once or twice a week until that is a comfortable part of your routine and then add in a third day or perhaps add in some exercise at home – take the dog for a longer, faster walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, do 10 minutes of yoga in the morning and then add 10 minutes before you go to bed.  Gradually, build up to 6 days/week.   

 

POORLY DEFINED GOALS

Ever hear of SMART goals?  SMART goals are a fantastic way to really define and be clear about your goal, in a way that sets you up for success.  Here is how to set a SMART goal.

S – Specific – So, it’s not enough to say ,“I want to get in shape”.  What specifically does that look like for you?  Does that mean being able to run 5kms, finish a spin class without passing out, touch your toes, actually walk through the front doors of the gym?

M – Measurable.  This keeps us accountable to ourselves and allows us to see our progress.  So if your goal is to be able to run 5kms, how can you measure your progress – probably by the distance you run each session.  If your goal is to go to the gym, then determine how many times a week you want to go to they gym and then track on a calendar each time you go.

A- Achievable and As if Now– Is it actually achievable for you?  It might be achievable for someone else but is it achievable for you in your own unique situation?  You also want to state your goal as if you have already achieved it.  Rather than “I will run 5kms”, write it as: “It is March 31, 2018 and I am running 5kms three times a week”

R – Realistic – Is it realistic?  Is this goal good for you, for others, for your family etc.  If you are a single mom with 3 small children, no babysitter and a full time job, how realistic is it to set a goal of going to the gym 6 nights a week?  Not very.  So, make the goal realistic for your situation.

T –Timely.  Put a time frame on your goal.  This comes back to eating that elephant one bite at a time.  If you want to lose 50lbs, what date would you like to achieve that by?  If you want to go to the gym 6 days/week and you are going to start with 1 day/week, when do you want to have worked up to 6 days/week?

Remember the A and R of SMART – is it realistic and achievable by that date?

 

LACK OF PLANNING

Setting a SMART goal is important for success but without proper planning, your New Years Resolution is bound to go with all the ones that came before it.  We’ve already touched on the first part of good planning, and that is to break down that big goal into bite-sized pieces (mini goals).  And put a time frame around each of those mini goals.

Identify barriers that may get in the way of succeeding in reaching your goal.  So if your goal is to lose weight, what are the challenges you might encounter along the way – going out for dinner, tempting junk food in your cupboards, vacations, lack of time for good meal preparation etc.  Make a list of all the possible challenges you can foresee coming up.

Problem solve around each of those barriers.  How will you avoid them happening in the first place and how will you cope with the ones that cannot be avoided?

What resources do you need?  Do you have what you need to succeed?  If your goal is to lose weight, do you have your fridge and cupboards stocked with healthy food? Have you removed tempting unhealthy food from your house?  Do you need to do some research on best nutritional practices for healthy weight loss?  Do you need a support system?

Accountability.  Find an accountability buddy – share with that person your SMART goal, your plan, the barriers you anticipate and how you plan to overcome them.  Agree upon the best way for you to stay accountable – is it daily check-ins, weekly.  Is it a phone call, a text message?  And choose someone who will actually hold you accountable.

 

THE WRONG MOTIVATION

Away or Towards – is your main motivation to avoid something unpleasant or to move toward something positive.  For many people, the initial motivation is to move away from an unwanted situation.  If this is the only motivation, it often is short lived as we begin to rationalize why the unwanted situation isn’t so bad after all.  To sustain motivation, we need to have a very clear and real picture in our mind of the something positive we are moving toward.  Keep your focus on what you want!

It’s someone else’s idea.  If your New Years Resolution isn’t really your resolution but your partner’s wish for you or your parent’s desire for you, then you are doing it for the wrong reason and your chances of failure sky rocket.  Ask yourself “Am I doing this for myself or for someone else?”

Language.  When you think about your resolution, do you use words like “should”, “have to”, “must”, “can’t” or do you use language such as “want to”, “excited to”  “can”.  As soon as we tell ourselves we “should” do something, a little (or not so little) spark of resistance rears its ugly head and we pull away from the goal.  When we say we want to do something, we are more likely to actually do it.

 

LIMITING BELIEFS

Limiting beliefs are things we have come to belief are true that are not actually true.  We develop these beliefs in early childhood through our experiences of the world – what we hear our parents, teachers, friends say, what we observe those around us do, what we see and hear on TV, etc.  As a young child, we do not possess the capacity to understand fully these experiences and so we make interpretations, accept things as fact and internalize them as beliefs.  And then we reinforce those beliefs through our selective experiences as we get older.

If you have a goal of achieving your ideal weight but you have heard all your life that being overweight runs in the family and you observed your parents always dieting but never losing weight, you may have developed a limiting belief that “I can’t lose weight because being overweight runs in the family.”  As a result, your efforts at achieving your optimal weight may fail because deep down you don’t believe it is possible to achieve that weight.

They are called “limiting” because they hold us back from getting what we want.  Often, we are not even aware we hold them.  All we are aware of is that we keep falling short of our goals and aspirations.  These limiting beliefs are the main culprit behind you not achieving what you want.

And because they are rooted in our unconscious mind (we are not always consciously aware of them), they are hard to eliminate on our own.

 

MOVING FORWARD

So you have goals that are important to you that you want to achieve successfully in 2018!!  And the problem is that you have a track record of not achieving them.

We both know that succeeding at your goals, takes targeted effort and requires eliminating the limiting beliefs that hold you back from getting what you want.

Imagine if you could set specific realistic goals and actually achieve them.  What would your life be like if you made your New Years Resolution into reality?

As a therapist and Neuro Linguistic Programming Coach, I am uniquely qualified to help you eliminate those limiting beliefs that have been holding you back so you can achieve whatever you want to achieve NOW and in the future.

 

Book a complimentary session today to discover how you can make 2018 the year you want it to be.  To book a session, call 519-265-8035.

For a complimentary consultation or for more information, contact us here or call 519-265-8035.