You may be among the estimated 40% of the US population who make New Year’s Resolutions. According to Forbes, only 8% of Americans keep their New Year’s Resolutions. Most people break New Year’s Resolutions because they try too hard. They try to do too much. Many of us want to completely revamp our lives. We want to make lots of significant changes all at once. For instance, it took a long time for us to put on those extra 10 or 20 or even 50 or more pounds. It’s going to take time to let them go. You may want to write a book or create a more loving relationship or start a business or unclutter your house or office. Almost half of us give up on our New Year’s Resolutions before the end of January.
What about you, after all, you are not average? How do you make New Year’s Resolutions that you can keep and that make a difference in your life? Most people make resolutions in the following areas: weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking better money management and debt reduction. These may or may not be the resolutions that are right for you. First, let’s look at the reasons that most New Year’s Resolutions fail.
Why do we break New Year’s Resolutions?
1. Overwhelmed. All or nothing. We try to do too much too quickly and feel bogged down. We want to reinvent ourselves instead of changing habits we don’t like. Keeping the well intentioned New Year’s Resolution just becomes too much.
2. Lack of commitment. We’re interested but not enough to follow through. Maybe this is not the time to commit. We may have too much on our plate to add something else or maybe we need to take a good look at what we have already committed to and decide when to say yes and when to say no.
3. Not my idea. Lack of personal interest. The idea sounded good. Maybe other people thought it was a good idea, but we were neither inspired nor vested in the outcome. As good people pleasers, we said yes to something we did not want.
4. Fear and self-judgment. What if we could lose this weight or write that best-selling novel. Then what would other people expect of us? Would our friends still like us? Would we outshine others? Often we fear our success more than our failure.
5. Resolutions just don’t inspire us. Resolutions often focus on eliminating the negative: bad habits or parts of ourselves we don’t like. What if our resolutions focused on creating what we most want. What would we do if we could not fail?
Do any of these apply to you? I know I have at times seen myself in each of these five areas. New Year’s resolutions can be great. Keep them simple and focused on what is right for you.