5 Reasons Resolutions Fail and 10 Ways to Keep Them

5 Reasons Resolutions Fail and 10 Ways to Keep Them

You’ve had a couple weeks to sit on your resolutions. Perhaps you’re rocking them or maybe you already feel like you’re failing. Either way, you may want to take another look at those New Year goals, if you truly want to succeed this time.

Mistakes We Make with Resolutions

  1. Not Personal – Sometimes we choose resolutions that our friends or society tell us should be our goals. This is just begging to give up. If it isn’t personal in some way, you won’t have the drive, desire, and passion to turn it into reality.

  2. Vague – Most of us make this mistake year after year. We come up with some big goal, which is fine (nothing wrong with going big), but we fail to make it specific enough. Lose weight. Improve finances. Get out of debt. Write more. Paint more. Exercise more. Travel more. Read more. Get organized. These are all terrible goals, not because they’re terrible things to accomplish, but because they are too vague to take you anywhere near completing them.

  3. No Plan – We set a resolution and then hope to complete it, but you can’t accomplish anything great, any large change, or any big transition without a plan to get you there.

  4. Too Many – Our brains aren’t designed to multitask as much as we think they are. You can’t focus on too many goals at once and complete them in a satisfactory manner. The more resolutions you add, the less likely you are to do any.

  5. Negativity – Sometimes we set a goal we don’t think we can accomplish and just embrace failing. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of a goal at the first misstep. That is no way to live.

Doing Resolutions Right

  1. Mentally Prepare – Change takes work, but is possible. You have to know that going in. Take a quiet moment to reflect on the changes you have made in the past, on the things you have done well, on the new skills you’ve learned. You have done great things in the past. You will do great things in the future. You can do this!

  2. Be Personal – Make your goal personal to you, something you truly want, and infuse it with pure passion. This resolution needs to matter to you. Tie it to your talents, your family, your loved ones, your priorities, and your favorite things. There should be something of value in it for who you are deep down. It should motivate you all the way through.

  3. Limit Yourself – Stick to one to three major goals. Spreading yourself thin is setting yourself up for failure. Make a list of all the things you would like to accomplish this year, group similar things together, and then rank them. Move the top three into your final list. Save the rest of the list for after you finish a goal or for next year.

  4. Be Specific – Use exact amounts and times in your goals. Lose weight is terrible. Lose 35 pounds by the 4th of July is a solid major goal. Save an extra $2,500 this year isn’t bad. Save $50 every paycheck is even better. The more specific you can be about measurable amounts and times, the more likely you will achieve what you set out to do.

    Also make sure this goal is something you can accomplish. If you get paid $3,000 a month and your average spend is $2,500, you cannot save $1,000 a month. $500 is doable, but leaves no room for surprise expenses. $250 is attainable.

  5. Break Down the Plan – Once you have a specific, attainable goal, break that goal down into mini goals you can plan out. If you can tie these to a week or month, do that too.

    Let’s say you’ve decided to go with the lose 35 pounds by the 4th of July That’s 25 weeks. That’s a 1.4 pounds a week. Much more attainable, right? But you still aren’t done. Break down the plan to lose those 1.4 pounds each week too into bite-sized tasks. Quit soda. Sign up for a gym membership. Go to the gym for the first time. Find a workout buddy to keep you accountable. Go to the gym twice in a week. Investigate keto. Join a Facebook group on intermittent fasting. Eat one third less of each meal. Try first short fast. Do intermittent fasting for a week. Cut out bread for a week. Do 50 jumping jacks each morning and evening.

    You can break any goal down into smaller steps. Write them out on a calendar and just focus on the ones you have down for this week. That way you don’t ever get overwhelmed.

  6. Make it Visible – A goal unwritten is merely a wish. Once you have a plan, put it in front of your face daily. Plaster it on your fridge, fill out a calendar that hangs above your bed, set up digital reminders and alarms on your phone, tell your friends and family about it, write it huge on a whiteboard at work, and/or create a vision board. Do everything you can to make your goals visible in some way daily. You need the reminders.

  7. Check Them Off – There is a sense of accomplishment every time you mark a task completed. Our brains love lists and checking things off those lists. Make sure you mark off all those little steps on your way to the larger goal.

  8. Stay Positive – It’s easy to lose steam and momentum, especially if everything doesn’t go to plan, but don’t let negativity creep back in. Every little step is progress, slow or not. Every task checked off is a win. Celebrate every half pound lost, every dollar saved, every class taken, every new friend made, or every social event attended between your present and your destination. Whatever your goal, you should feel happy about all the progress you’re making.

  9. Accept Stumbles – You’re going to mess up. You’re human, and life isn’t perfect. It’s okay. Just get back to it immediately. The longer you wallow, beat yourself up, and complain about your luck, the farther your goals get from you. Accept the stumble and get back to the plan. It really is that simple.

  10. Don’t Quit – No matter how far behind you fall, how terrible the plan ends up, how few things you check off, DO NOT QUIT! Your still growing, making changes, and seeing progress. Stick it out. You won’t regret keeping a resolution, even if it changes shape by the end of the year.