Five reasons why New Year's resolutions don’t work
We all hope that the New Year will bring new opportunities and be the year we make positive changes, become happier and achieve personal and professional success. However, when it comes to change, we tend to resist it, though knowing it will better our lives. We often don’t give our goals sufficient thought or place unrealistic expectations on ourselves.
So before you write a long list of New Year’s resolutions, consider the following reasons that could undermine your plans and you will be better prepared to stick to your goals.
1. They are very similar to last year
If this is because they’re ongoing lifetime goals, then that’s great, and always something to strive for. But if you want to achieve a specific goal, the ideas and outcomes behind this goal need to be clear in your mind!
Simply setting a New Year’s resolution for 2019 because you didn’t achieve them last year, may leave you feeling disheartened and hopeless, knowing deep down as you write them, that you are just going through the motions and already expecting to fail again. Starting the year with a negative mindset will hinder your chance to achieve goals.
2. Your resolutions are vague
For example – deciding “to learn more” is an initial idea, not a clear goal. Ask yourself: what do I want to learn, how will it benefit me, what should I start with, how to monitor my progress and at what point have I achieved what I wanted? A vague resolution is easily forgotten so try and be as clear and realistic as possible.
3. They are not in line with your values
When you honour your values, you’re being true to yourself. But setting goals that aren’t in line with what is deeply important to you (such as integrity, connection, caring, recognition, making a contribution) will usually result in you self sabotaging without understanding why. This can lead to a repeat of the negative emotions mentioned in point one – with additional self-judgement and criticism thrown in.
4. They do not support a balanced life
If you don’t check that all the areas of your life are in balance, you could easily have a great set of goals focused around one aspect of your life, your career for example. Only to find you get your desired promotion but you, yourself, are in a bad way, having neglected your health and personal relationships, are having no fun and are in debt.
5. They are not your goals
Your family and friends may have certain expectations about you which, for whatever reason, you feel obliged to meet. This is fine if it's something you truly want to do, if it inspires you, stretches you, makes you happy. But if those positives are missing and you feel you ‘should’ do it - look honestly and carefully at your reasons for making that choice.
Decide upon a reasonable number of resolutions that inspire you, address the above potential challenges for each of your goals and have a wonderful year!