Sorry to break it to you, but New Year’s resolutions don’t work. In fact, 92% of them fail. Don’t believe us? Think back to any of the ones you’ve made. Perhaps you vowed to read more, and ended up reading more of your eyelids. And maybe you said you’d eat more healthfully, and then found yourself with a salad, topped with bacon, too much cheddar and a mountain of croutons. We know because we’re in the same boat.
Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” By Einstein’s standards, we should all put on a straight-jacket before making this year’s resolutions. It’s time we break the cycle.
First, we must study our enemy. Why do our resolutions fail? What is so fundamentally flawed with setting goals on January 1st? Only once we have these answers can we give ourselves a fighting chance of success. Below are the top 5 reasons your resolutions are destined to fail, and how you can change your approach to dramatically improve your goal setting.
Pitfall #1: You have too many resolutions.
Sure, we’d all like to start 2019 with the hope of reading one book monthly, going to the gym every day of the week, only using foot-powered transportation, eating salads 90% of the time, and sleeping 12 hours nightly, but, call me a Debbie Downer, that’s just not doable. Pick one goal, find a small way you can bake that goal into your daily life, and go from there. For example, if your goal is to read more, set the intention to read for 30 minutes three times per week. Before you know it, those three times will feel so natural you’ll be able to add a fourth and fifth reading session, no sweat.
Pitfall #2: Your resolutions are too big.
Saying 2019 is going to be the year you drop four dress sizes is all fun and games until you find yourself in the same pair of pants at Thanksgiving. Keep it real by setting your goal to not eat desserts, including doughnuts, pancakes, muffins, and all the other sugary foods you try to disqualify as dessert because they fall outside of the post-dinner category, at least four times per week.
Pitfall #3: Your resolutions aren’t concrete.
Arbitrarily saying you’re going to lose weight isn’t enough. You need concrete steps to take to achieve your goal. Turn the resolution “to exercise more” into “to take one fitness class three times weekly.” Once you’ve bagged your 12 fitness classes for the month, treat yourself to something, be it a massage, or a night at the movies–anything that will help keep you motivated.
Pitfall #4: Your resolutions don’t fit into your routine.
If you’ve resolved to go for a lengthy hike in nature four times weekly, but you live in the city and don’t get off work until the sun has set, you’re doomed. Set a goal you can incorporate into your routine. Once it becomes “autopilot,” you’ll have accomplished your goal for life, and you’ll only keep improving upon it.
Pitfall #5: You keep it a secret.
Telling the world your goals may be scary, for fear of judgement and disappointment should you not reach them, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure staying on track. Sharing your micro-resolution with your family and friends holds you accountable, and therefore makes you more likely to succeed. Don’t be nervous–be confident.
What to do instead of setting lofty goals: Set “micro-resolutions”.
Micro-resolutions are simple, concrete actions that compound over time to achieve a goal. Simply setting micro-resolutions makes you twice as likely to succeed compared to typical goal setting. Learn more about micro-resolutions.
Bonus: Go one step further by writing down your micro-resolution. Writing your micro-resolution down, instead of leaving it in your head, makes you 3x as likely to accomplish your goal. Visit our micro-resolution tracker to give yourself the best shot of success this year.