Making resolutions that stick is often times the hardest part of the process. Inevitably as the New Year comes near people start the painstaking process of deciding what is they want to change this year. What are the goals or resolutions to change that you want to make?
If you’re like most people I encounter you start your resolution list in late December, come out of the gate hot in January, and then by February or March you’ve completely given up on or forgotten your resolutions.
It’s easy to come up with things you want to do but harder to follow through on them. As someone who spent many years in the health club industry, I’d see it all the time. The turn of the New Year is the busiest time of year for health clubs. After the holiday’s everyone has packed on a few pounds and their first big resolution is to lose weight or get in better shape.
An honorable resolution for sure as it’s always best to be in shape and maintain a healthy weight. This group of people take the first step in January and buy a membership. Some meet with a personal trainer who guides them on what will become their journey to weight loss and healthier life. The new member comes to the club religiously the first month following the outline that was set up for them but something happens in month two (usually February) and they begin to drop off.
What is it that causes people to stray from their resolutions? Is it boredom, laziness, lack of results, or something else? Each person is different so the reasons will vary from person to person.
If you’ve read any of my other articles you will know that I’m a very goal-oriented person. I set my personal and professional goals religiously at this time every year. I’m so goal-oriented that even if I’m doing a project around the house I plan out what I want to accomplish and set a deadline for when the job should be completed. I use this same approach when it comes to resolutions as resolutions are firm decisions to do or not do something.
In this article, we explain different ways to help make your resolutions stick.
Not everything is a must, limit your resolutions
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took time. Don’t set a long list of resolutions but instead focus on one or two that you’d like to accomplish. Having too many resolutions at one time can be daunting and overwhelming to think of or accomplish.
Establishing new habits takes time and trying to accomplish too much at once will not allow you to develop the new habit or mindset you need to be successful with your resolution.
Be honest with yourself and ask why you want to make this particular resolution. Putting a definitive “why” to the resolution gives it meaning and a deeper emotional connection. For example, “I want to work out more this year because I’m tired of being tired all the time. I need more energy.” This is a direct quote I muttered to myself many years ago when I decided to make fitness a part of my life.
Your “why” gives you a definitive reason to stick to your resolution and as a result, provides your brain with a reminder when and if you begin to slip.
Don’t set a resolution you don’t believe you can accomplish
People tend to “get in their own way” and self-sabotage resolutions they set without fully believing it can be achieved. Dr. Wayne Dwyer suggests in his book, The Power of Intention, that “positive change comes not from pushing through with determination and perseverance, but rather through getting out of your own way.” Don’t go into a resolution with negative thoughts or you will never follow through.
Check on yourself
Check-in on yourself periodically and see how you are doing with your resolutions. Take a reality check and reassess your progress. You need to come from a place of honesty when checking on yourself. Goals and resolutions take time and sometimes need minor adjustments along the way. Remember progress is a success!
If you set a resolution that you wanted to lose 25 pounds but only lost 20 you didn’t fail. Yes, you didn’t reach your goal weight loss but you did succeed in losing 20 pounds and next time you will attack weight loss differently and adjust.
Remember the last time you set resolutions
Many say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If you choose the same resolutions every year and go about accomplishing them in the same manner, you are setting yourself up to fail. If weight loss is your resolution and last year you tried a specific diet and it didn’t work, you need to change your plan this year. Therefore try a new diet, or join a gym and invest in a personal trainer to keep you accountable.
Accept the process
Change is scary for many of us but for some, the idea of changing is easier than actually following through with it. You must accept the process and be willing to make a plan and work that plan. You can’t expect change to happen overnight. All change comes at a cost and that cost can be financial, emotional, or physical. If you want to change your body you can go to a gym and work hard and sweat every day OR you can have your stomach stapled. Both of these approaches will work but each has a different cost to change.
Making resolutions that stick is often more about creating the correct strategies (and plan) to achieve your desired end result than it is having fortitude or willpower.
I hope you find this information useful as you prepare your personal resolutions.
If you’d like to learn more read my article on Goal Setting
What are some of your resolutions for the New Year and how do you plan on achieving them?
I think the one that is so very important for me is that I need to work on accepting the process. I need to focus on changing my mindset. Often times, I find myself giving up when a task starts to feel overwhelming. I’d love to blog more, and really focus on that next year. I probably need to sit down, and create a plan, and maybe even a schedule. Life is pretty distracting at times, and I could use more focus.
I’d love to write more as well but life gets in the way sometimes. I’m going to try harder this year to put time aside for it.
Great tips. I always make a few New Years resolutions but I very rarely keep them longer than a month. This year I’ll have a plan in place to help my New Years resolutions stick.
I agree: I don’t like word ‘resolution even’, I more of a goal setter. From my own experience your resolution/goal should be achievable and it is important that you know what to do about it. For example: instead of ‘I want eat healthier next year’ think of something like ‘I want to cut my sugar intake in half, stop snacking with sweets or something like that’. At the same time I don’t think we should only go for resolution we definitely can achieve, sometimes dreaming big and going for it is important, you might stuck in the middle but who cares if you are taking that journey (for example if you want to run your first marathon with specific result it is ok to simply finish it). However I really hate reading about jokes on New Years Resolutions people don’t even intend to work on
Great points Lyosha! Happy New Year!
I like the idea of asking why – I think that’ll help with limiting resolutions and making the right ones. I really really want to get fitter (how original, right?!) going forward. Using your idea of asking why and digging deeper I realize that I don’t really need to lose weight but instead get more strength and flexibility and I think a targeted yoga program would be the best fit for me. Let’s hope I’m able to stick with it!
The hardest part is sticking with it!
These are great steps! I try to limit my goal setting to one main goal in each area of my life each quarter. So, I choose something I can focus on for my career goals, my personal health/wellness goals and my relationship goals. I have found that way, it doesn’t feel completely overwhelming and doing it quarterly gives me more room to change and pivot if needed. For example, if I set a career goal to advance in a particular skill set and find halfway through that I don’t actually enjoy that as much as I thought that I would, I can choose a different goal for the next quarter instead.
Great idea! At least you are doing something!
Yes, this is exactly what I just discussed with my sister. It is so important to know your why. So often we think that we want to do something or change something and when we reflect on it we realize that it isn’t really something we necessarily want to do but that we think we should, or we are jumping onboard of a trend.
I’ve never been New Years resolution kind of person, because as you said, it is often forgotten by March, and even that is longer than most. I am goal-oriented, so I still set attainable goals and keep track of my progress as the year goes on. I don’t know why but I’ve always associated the term resolutions with failure. Somehow the title of goals instead of resolutions fits better for me, and sets me up for a lot more success.