Here’s Why Resolutions Fail

Here’s Why Resolutions Fail

It’s that time of year. The New Year is looming and has rolled around faster than you thought possible. The advent of a fresh new start sounds enticing. You’ve managed to survive the holidays relatively unscathed although most of us will admit to letting our hair down and perhaps overindulging. Time for a resolution, right?

From both a personal and professional perspective, there might be changes that you have been wishing to make in life. But procrastination often prevails. It’s never the ‘right time’ or the ‘ideal time’ to add in some serious upheaval that demands commitment and your undivided attention to make real changes. Ask any parent if they thought having children were ‘perfect timing’ and you’ll see the eyeballs roll. 

The fact is, there is never the Perfect Time to make changes in your life. Why do we insist on making New Year’s Resolutions as if some annual grand gesture to the universe that says we are going to make some real changes this time around. This time, Universe, we really, really mean it. 

The cold hard facts (according to U.S.News as detailed in an article on Forbes) is that 80% of us will quit and emphatically give up on our resolutions by early February. 

Avoiding the Pitfalls

A key reason we fail time and time again is because of a number of reasons. It should come as no surprise that the majority is psychological. The way that we state our intent is either negatively, too vague, or not actually what we want and instead, we make it about what other people think we should be.

Your Goals Aren’t Specific Enough

Think about this for a second. How many people do you know make a resolution to ‘lose weight’ or ‘exercise more’? Easily two of the most popular resolutions people make, they are doomed to fail because they aren’t specific. Not to mention the oft-repeated act of doing this year in, year out and a stark reminder of past failures. That isn’t an ideal starting point.

They should be something you can track and be realistic as well. Don’t set yourself up by saying you want to lose 100 pounds this year. Instead, visualise your end goal in smaller blocks that will eventually get you to where you want to see yourself long term. 

Try saying, “By the end of March I will be 15 pounds lighter and feeling healthier.” Then use other small actions that you can attach to other actions you already do. Tag them on so they become a new habit. Commit to cutting back on refined sugars in your grocery shop which eliminates a lot of temptation at home. Or walking to work three times a week. These are actions you have to do: you do need to buy groceries, you do need to get to work. Small changes to these tasks will affect you long term.

Not Planning Properly

Ensure you write down what you want to achieve through change. Writing things down helps you to own it. Even better? Tell your friends or your family, make yourself accountable to someone. 

When it comes to diet or exercise figure out what you can commit to without making sweeping changes that will be sure to create a sense of futility. Starting off small and being able to say you stuck to those smaller changes will embolden you to continue adding in other components and they all gradually add up. Get specific with the steps you are willing to make and make them simple to start with.

It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to make grand changes in your life. But keeping them to yourself also means you can easily procrastinate and avoid that accountability entirely. It’s the easiest way to continue your old ways and is a highway to failure once again.

On a personal note, I made my choice to get more active during lockdown and start using the rowing machine we had in our house that saw very little to no action whatsoever. I had never used it in the five years we had it and my husband only sporadically. 

When I made that choice I told my friends and I recorded a short video message afterwards every day, sweat and all. This was to show that I was doing what I said I set out to. It’s almost a year later and I still do this. I note in my planner every day I work out and my time for 5 km, which was my goal to do on average 4 days per week. I never thought it possible. But I have stuck to it and it’s completely ingrained in my routine. I’ve never felt better than ever!

Framing Them Negatively

Negative language will impact your mindset. ‘I need to stop eating junk food’ will make you think about it all the time in all likelihood. Try reframing your inner voice and say out loud/write down ‘I will choose to have a healthy soup or a salad for lunch’. Or ‘I always feel fantastic once I get into my exercise time’ instead of ‘I really am not feeling like exercising today’. 

Another point here? Are you choosing goals that you truly want or what you think society, family, and friends think you should want and be? If you aren’t 100% behind the change for yourself that’s another red flag that you aren’t going to do the work that results in actual progress.

No Time Like the Present

Why do people wait for New Year? If you want changes whether it be in your personal or business life make a conscious decision to start acting on it now. Momentum is a powerful thing once you get started. We mentioned earlier there is no perfect timing. If that is the case there should be nothing stopping you from getting started now!

Be Persistent

It takes time for new habits to gain muscle memory so to speak. And the reality is that you will have slip-ups, but you should never beat yourself up about them. Get back on the horse and keep going. Be proud of the smaller achievements you have already made and keep on extending or even expanding your goals. It can be deflating to get to the finish line and then wonder what to do next. Nothing should stop you from continuing your journey to bigger and better things as we all keep growing and learning.

How Could NLP Help?

The practice of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) is a successful discipline that can help you create the right habits and actions that will have a dramatic impact on the changes you want to achieve.

It provides proven techniques and tools for success that will help you drive yourself naturally, ongoing. 

Want to learn more about NLP? Check out our PDF that details our upcoming 7-Day Licensed NLP Programme (in-person in Edinburgh) from April 27 – May 3, 2022.

Resolutions needn’t be a recurring nightmare, but once you realise you don’t have to wait until the ‘New Year’ to get to where you want to be you will wonder why you ever did before.

And this is something we should all get behind. Don’t wait to start changing your life in impactful ways by avoiding the pitfalls that set us up for failure in the first place.

Right then, I’m off to row 5 km.