Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How You Can Prevent It From Happening to You

<span title="W" class="dropcap">W</span>hy Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How You Can Prevent It From Happening to YouI came across this article today and find it very helpful. It preaches a lot of the same things I always stress (see, I’m not crazy!) and does a good job of teaching goal setting in easy steps. With no further, ado, enjoy!

Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How You Can Prevent It From Happening to You

By Carla Vaughan

New Year’s Resolutions are great to get you thinking about what you want to accomplish in the coming year. Has anyone ever achieved all of their New Year’s Resolutions? I have never met anyone who accomplished all they set out to at the beginning of any given year.

The best news is that not following through on some New Year’s resolutions is great. Why? Our priorities change. Life throws crazy situations at us. We re-think our goals. It’s ok to update a resolution during the year. It’s also ok to eliminate one. We must be flexible enough to realize when our situations warrant a fresh approach. Other times, we don’t reach our goals and the reason(s) are unnecessary and avoidable.

Some of the most common reasons New Year’s Resolutions fail is:

  1. Nothing is written down. You write down a doctor’s appointment because it is important and you don’t want to forget it. Write down your goals (resolutions).
  2. Expectations are unrealistic. If you set a goal that is too high (and do not achieve it), you will not only experience frustration for not achieving what you want, but you will also be less likely to set goals in the future.
  3. No plan to succeed. Setting a goal is meaningless unless you plan for and take steps to achieve the results you desire.
  4. Motivation desperation. Hopefully waiting for some gigantic spring of motivation to all of a sudden flow through our veins is not realistic. Take the first step toward your goals and the motivation will follow. Action precedes motivation.
  5. Resolutions are kept secret. Share your resolutions for the coming year with someone you trust. When you speak the words aloud and offer them to someone else, you are then accountable for them. Your trustworthy friend can nudge you in the right direction when you need a gentle reminder.
  6. Not your goal. If the resolution has no real meaning to you, there will be no strong desire to achieve it. Just because your best friend wants to lose weight doesn’t mean it is the right goal for you. Your resolutions must be yours if you are to be fully invested (emotionally) in them.

To make the process of setting and achieving New Year’s Resolutions easier and more effective, focus on the following:

  1. Set goals/resolutions and write them down including a date for completion.
  2. Create objectives that can be done on a weekly or monthly basis that lead to the achievement of a specific goal. Objectives get written down, too. You will have one set of objectives for each resolution/goal. Objectives should have dates of completion, too. They may have to be revised, but having a target to shoot for is better than having nothing to shoot for at all.
  3. Define specific tasks that can be done daily and/or weekly that target a specific objective. Many tasks will change from day to day and others may need to be revised depending upon how well they are achieving the objectives.
  4. Do at least one thing each day to propel you closer to one of your goals.
  5. Document your progress and reward yourself for your achievements.

The Success Journal

When creating resolutions (goals), it is imperative that you write everything down. Using a calendar or daily planner of some kind is great to define and follow up on goals, objectives and tasks. It also allows for the integration of your tasks and objectives into your schedule. If you don’t write it down, it will very likely not get done.

Start with your first resolution. Once you have identified the deadline for the resolution, write it in your planner. Set your objectives and determine the completion dates for them. When adding those to your planner, work back from the original resolution completion date.

For instance, if I want to save $1,000 for a weekend getaway, I write the date that I want to take the trip in the planner (say, May 31st). My objectives are to save in increments until the final amount is reached. So, I write my objectives in the planner as “Have $200 set aside by January 31st, $400 by February 28th, $600 by March 31st, $800 April 30th and $1000 May 31st.”

The specific tasks may be anything from collecting all loose change in a jar to selling un-needed items on ebay. Those can be incorporated into daily activities – again, written in the planner.

So, what is the Success Journal title all about? As you complete each and every task, reward yourself. You will have to determine what works best for you, but it can be anything from a gold star sticker on the page of the task that is completed to a journal entry expressing your feelings about having taken one step closer toward your goal. Yes, you reward even the little things, especially to start with. Gold stars are great as they are bold and very visible. If your New Year’s Resolution is to lose a set amount of weight, this is not the time to reward yourself with a bowl of ice cream.

Reaching objectives is worthy of a different kind of reward, but it, too, should have some relevance to the Success Journal. The more you see the successes in your past, the more motivated you will be to move forward. Not only that, but if you ever attempt something really, really scary, you can flip through your Success Journal and say, “Hey, if I can conquer that, I can handle this.”

New Year’s Resolutions can be very beneficial when well defined and handled properly. What’s on your list of things to accomplish this year?

Carla Vaughan, Owner/Webmaster Professional-Resume-Example.com

Carla is the owner of Professional-Resume-Example.com, a web site devoted to assisting candidates in the job-search process. She holds a B.S. in Business from Southern Illinois University and has authored several books.

For more information about writing goal setting, follow this link to Goals, Objectives and Tasks

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