Why Our Resolutions Haven’t Worked (Yet)December 16, 2022
We tend to pay special attention at this time of year to what we call resolutions, specifically New Year resolutions. Resolutions are basically just goals with a pinky promise attached for good measure. No matter what the goal, we tell ourselves we really mean it this time. Yet statistics show that about 70% of these resolutions are never fulfilled. Why is that?
You already know the answer so this will come as no surprise – we set ourselves up for failure from the get go. Our resolutions rarely follow the formula that makes most goals successful, and that’s why I’m here. Throughout my life, I’ve learned many lessons the hard way, through trial and error after error after error. I spent 25 years of my life failing in life and business.
The upside of spending years in prison is that it afforded me time to get my mind right. I was able to implement a system that has brought me extraordinary success I still use and teach today. But it would not have been possible without getting the mind right first. I speak about this in great length and detail in my book The Power of Consistency. Here are some pointers I’ve learned when it comes to resolutions or goals.
- Create a specific and measurable goal
It’s not enough to say I want to get more sleep. That is not specific and involves a lot of guesswork if not measured or journaled. A more specific goal might be, “I will go to bed by 11 pm on weeknights.” And find a way to log your sleep. Most smartphones have apps that will record how much sleep you obtained, sometimes manually and sometimes “automagically.”
- Make sure the goals are meaningful to YOU
Which is more likely to be successful, goals you set for yourself or goals are simply more popular? If you were recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, a goal to lose 20 lbs in 4 months is extremely important. If you are unable to find success with this goal, health problems may be on the horizon. It is meaningful and personal to you.
- Consistency matters
Creating small gains daily toward your goal is not only easier, but these gains add up over time and make it less likely that you will quit. Inconsistent gains are frustrating as each measurement will yield unknown results. And just as important, consistency creates lifelong habits, likely the most important ingredient of success.
- Set up a reward system
Rewarding yourself for measured improvement is a healthy way of keeping you excited about progress. A weekend road trip after finishing 3 chapters of your novel gives you something to look forward to and motivates us in the right direction. Whatever carrot you dangle in front of yourself, make sure it is a strong enough motivator and is not counterproductive to the goal (don’t reward yourself with ice cream for each gym session you attend.)
Start with small goals and list the action steps to be completed
- Know yourself
Mistakes will likely be made along the way. Forgive yourself and pick right back up where you left off. Giving up after one failure is very commonplace and an unfortunate reality.
- Mental exercises
State the goal daily. Then spend quiet time reflecting on the goal. Then imagine the goal has been obtained and attempt to feel the emotions it will generate. Get in touch with what it FEELS LIKE to be on the other side of success. I can attribute a great deal of my personal success to this exercise. It works, plain and simple.
- Ask to be held accountable
Can we be trusted to hold ourselves accountable? Ask the snooze button on your alarm. We fare much better when we leave this to someone else whose sole job is to make sure we’re doing our part to ensure the steps of the goal are being performed. Your accountability partner has an easier job when asking a binary question of did you or did you not perform the steps this week you promised you would? A yes or no question leaves little room to insert excuses we tend to let slip ourselves.
Most every goal made by man has been achieved by someone. That means the goal you have in mind right now is doable; it is simply a matter of taking small bites of it and following through until the end. The steps above and the steps I’ve outlined in my book in much more detail help me with both easy and challenging goals. I can feel proud when I review my New Year resolutions/goals knowing the steps are like riding a bike once you get back on.
Here is a real-world example of a common resolution and typical results. The difference in success and failure is evident.
Go to the gym 45 minutes 3x/week
- Hang a physical calendar on the wall
- Mark off each day at gym
Result: Steve weighed himself after 1 month and lost 6 lbs. He feels better about his body and will continue the plan. He receives encouragement from his accountability partner.
Lose 35 lbs.
- Try to stop eating late at night
- Purchase the premium gym membership
- Try to exercise when possible
- Exercise harder the day before a weigh-in
Result: Mark promised himself he’d try this for a month. After a month, he weighed himself and decided it wasn’t working so he quit. His gym continues charging him monthly. Works Decembers as a mall Santa.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” You are not too old to get a college degree. You are not unable to become your own boss. It is time to remove the limiting beliefs you may have and it is time to reword your goals to reinforce the positive. “I CAN earn my college degree” and “I CAN become my own boss” is a better affirmation that will yield better results.
And you do not need to wait until January 1st to make a resolution. Begin as soon as possible. Remember you can always refer to The Power of Consistency to turn a goal into a reality. Thousands have already succeeded.
Sending you the best from my family to yours. Here’s to 2023 and all the dreams we know we can fulfill in the next 12 months. Write them down. Feel the emotion of succeeding. And then take every step to make them reality.