Why New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick (and how to make sure yours do)

Nine days. That’s how long most New Year’s resolutions last. Seriously, three quarters of people who make resolutions for the new year, feel like they’re unlikely to stick to them just nine days later. [1]

At go-do.it, we know it’s hard to stick to resolutions, but we’ve also seen lots of people achieve some pretty incredible things, so it got us thinking, why is it that some people always seem to fail, whereas others totally smash it out the park? And more importantly, how can you make sure that you actually achieve your resolutions this year?

Why do so many resolutions fail?

They’re too general and there’s no plan

I want to get healthy, or I want to go on more adventures, aren’t really plans, they’re simply too vague. Where do you even start? The problem is that if you have to make too many decisions in order to get started, it leaves the door open for procrastination and spinning your wheels, such as…

  • Should I go to the gym, or go for a run?
  • Is strength training ‘better’ than cardio?
  • Should I eat quinoa or salad for lunch?

If you have to think about it in order to do it, it’s going to get tiring pretty quickly and you’re much more likely to default to old habits.

The other thing to think about is if your resolution is vague, how will you know if you’ve actually achieved it? For example how will you know if you’re actually ‘healthy’? Or what qualifies as ‘more adventures’? It’s an unachievable target, so you’re likely to lose motivation when you never seem to be nearing your impossible goal.

 

You’re aiming really high

There’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but sometimes the goal is just too big or far removed from where you are right now. If you want to run a marathon, that’s great, but you wouldn’t expect to just go out and run a marathon – you need to start small and build up towards it.

Resolutions and goals are the same; setting them too high is a surefire way to make yourself feel guilty for not being ‘good enough’ or like you’ve already failed, so you’re much less likely to carry on.

You’re doing it all by yourself

We often keep our resolutions to ourselves, probably for fear of failing, and then fear of having everyone know you failed. But this actually makes it more likely you’ll give up. Because if no one knows then it doesn’t really count anyway, right?

 

So what do we do to help us keep our resolutions?

 

1 – Make a plan

You need a specific, realistic and achievable plan. And it needs to be in bite-sized chunks rather than one huge goal. So you need to include regular, repeatable actions, as well as the what, how, who, where and when.

Remember, your outcomes aren’t guaranteed, so it’s important to focus on your system and what you’ll be doing on a regular basis to make sure you achieve your goal.

If you want to get healthy, this might translate as

  • Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 times per week
  • Do one more push up each day than I did the day before
  • Make sure I eat at least five portions of vegetables every day

Or, if you want to learn a foreign language, you might start with learning five new words a day and having a 20 minute conversation in that language at least once a week.

 

2 – Share it with friends, or even rope them into doing it too

It’s much easier to let yourself down, than it is someone else. So by involving someone else you’ll be much more likely to stick to your resolution.

It could be as simple as telling a few close friends or family members who will provide support and encouragement, or kick you up the backside if you’re slipping off course. Or if you know a public declaration will keep you on track, share it far and wide on social media. You could write about it on your blog, or even pledge to donate money to a cause you hate if you don’t complete it.

Even better, get someone to work towards the same goal as you. You’ll have someone to share the successes and frustrations with, and you’ll be able to keep each other going when it gets tough – it’s much easier to duck out of a 5am run in the rain by yourself than when your friend is outside waiting for you!

 

3 – Don’t forget to celebrate your successes

Science proves that you’re much more likely to keep going if you celebrate how far you’ve come rather than how far you still have to go. Reminding yourself of all the great things you’ve achieved is vital for keeping up motivation and will make it much more likely for you to keep going.

 

Luckily we’ve baked all of this into go-do.it for you. We’ll help you make your plans, join the dots so that they’re realistic, then we’ll keep you motivated to keep going. Plus it’s super easy to tell your friends and get them on board, so you’re sure to keep going and make 2017 completely amazing!

This is your year. Don’t join the hoards of failed resolutions, be that person who does cool things and goes on adventures. You never know where they may lead.

Sign up today!


Also published on Medium.

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Amy Lambert

Amy’s philosophy in life is that she would rather regret the things she does do, than the things she didn’t do. It’s served her well so far as she’s managed to fulfil her goals of learning fluent Spanish, qualifying as a surf coach, living abroad and starting her own writing business. One of her favourite things in the world is helping other people find and follow their dreams.

 

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