Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work & What to Do Instead

How many times have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? Every year since you were 15? Let me guess, it is usually to stop doing something or to start doing something that under usual circumstances you have a really difficult time doing.  Ah, and New Year’s rolls around, a fresh start, a perfect time to make that ginormous change in our lives right!  Wrong. Large drastic changes actually don’t work for most people.  They usually last for a week or two, a month maybe.  Gym membership sales soar post New Year’s with the resolutions to get into shape.  People quit, smoking, drinking, vow to eat better, the list goes on.

Do these look familiar?

Reasons Why Resolutions Don’t Work

1. Resolutions Are Usually Set in the Negative Voice – it isn’t always the case, but many of us set resolutions that involve “stopping” something or “giving something up”.  That is a recipe for failure right there.  While we may want to stop, we are not sending out the right energy.  We are sending out a regretful, “darn I need to stop this now” energy.  Solution: Think about your goals in a positive light. How can you phrase them in a way that resonates positively with the direction you are headed.  It should feel good when you say it out loud and make you want to smile.

2. Drastic Cold Turkey Changes Are Hard to Make Last – there is a brilliant quote by Robin Sharma – “Small daily changes over time lead to staggering results.”  Read that again.  “Small daily changes over TIME lead to staggering results.”  Ok, so what does that mean?  You don’t have to be Jane Fonda on January 1st. In fact if you try to be, you probably won’t succeed.  When most people fall off their resolution wagon they throw in the towel. Solution: Think about the year ahead.  Pick a few areas of life where you would like to see improvement.  This is a serious exercise, and takes work, but it is your life.  Then start really small.  What can you do today? Tomorrow? Next week? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Imagine yourself as the person you want to be a year from now.  Do the small things and stay the course.

3.  We Forget About New Years – most people just think about New Year’s resolutions once a year, but if you are really determined to make changes in your life you have to constantly check back to the blueprint you set out for yourself of what it is that you are working toward and where you are headed.  Are you still on course?  Solution: Write down those things that you decided to work on broadly and the ways in which you think you can throughout the year.  It is a good idea to revisit the list once a month and check in.  It is a nice thing to do with a friend, relative or partner so that you can support one another.  Monitor your progress.  Are you achieving your goals?  Do you need to change direction? Do you need additional support?

If you are not achieving your goals, ask yourself where your mindset is and how it could be stopping you.

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”  I love that quote.  Stay clear on your vision for the life you want and have a Happy New Year.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over…It became a butterfly”

with love

be the butterfly

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