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Why 92% of New Year’s Resolutions Fail: 3 Ways to Beat the Odds
The biggest problem with New Year’s resolutions is making them without a plan. Being successful will live or die by how we define (or don’t define) our goals. Fulfilling a New Year’s resolution requires sacrifice, and is usually a disruption to daily life. Whether it is sacrificing time, money or energy, it is not something we always want to do. Follow these three steps to increase the odds of success in your 2020 resolutions.
1. Make Plans Not Goals
The first thing to do is make the distinction between your goal and your plan. Have you ever made the same resolution two years in a row? So many of us fall into this trap and here’s why.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. – Albert Einstein.
Each year about 45% of the Americans (143.5 million people) make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% (11.4 million people) succeed (Statistics). Without a plan, it’s easy to get lost along the way. A resolution is where you want to be, and your plan is how to get there. Write down your New Year’s plans instead of New Year’s resolutions.
2. Get Specific
Get specific with your planning. Whether your goal for 2020 is to get in better shape, eliminate debt or get a promotion, what does that look like? According to Huffington Post, one of the most popular resolution is to “enjoy life to the fullest” (Michael Lazar). Living a full life is different for everyone. What does the fullest life looks like to you, and how can you get there? Trouble articulating what your plan looks like? Try answering these questions:
- How long will it take? – If you think you can achieve your goal in six months, mark it on your calendar and work backwards. Set weekly goals to stay on track for your timeline.
- What do I need to achieve it? – Find out what you need in order to achieve your goal. If you want a promotion at work, do you know what makes you qualified for a new role? Understanding specifically what you need is key to being able to take control of achieving the goal.
- What happens when I achieve the goal? – Think about what happens when you reach your goal. If you want to lose weight, you can’t just stop working out and eating right when you hit your goal weight. There has to be a new balance to maintain your weight loss versus losing more weight.
3. Buddy Systems
We are not always going to be motivated by our goals. It is important to set up a system to stay on track even when we feel like giving up. The most “successful [people] understand that they cannot achieve their visions alone” (Forbes – Kathy Caprino). A buddy system is about accountability. Find someone who supports your goals and wants you to succeed. The support system is “especially important towards the end of January and early February”. According to fitness experts, February is “when the first few weeks of momentum [die off]” (Today). Motivation is high when goals are set, and a backup plan increases your chances for long term success.
The best predictor of the future is past behavior. If we want to achieve something different, then our actions have to be different. Ask yourself, “What is different this time?”. If there is no change, then you are probably going to end up with the same result. Use these three steps to keep yourself accountable and realistic with your goals. Good luck and Happy New Year!