It’s time for those New Year’s Resolutions! We always tell ourselves we’re going to stick with it this year, but by the time spring and summer roll out, we find ourselves less and less motivated than we were in January. Why is this? Why do over 80% of resolutions fail in February, according to an article from the U.S. News and World Report?
No matter what your resolution – eating healthier, getting in shape, spending more time with family & friends – somehow we find a way to lose motivation or neglect to follow-through with our previously stated New Year’s Resolution. Will 2017 come with new hope?
First, let’s examine a few reasons WHY our resolutions are failing.
Dealing With Failure
According to an article by Huffington Post, Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor, says unreasonable expectations are a prime reason for failure. She says, “People are making absolute statements about what they’re going to do, and that’s setting them up for failure immediately, because they’re not always going to go to the gym three times a week.”
After we fail to accomplish our goals, we lose hope in our abilities to achieve them. As the article continues, “research has found that failure can impair performance on future tasks unrelated to the prior failure.” Perhaps in previous years you have neglected to accomplish your New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps you tried a new challenge in the middle of the year and failed to accomplish that, as well. All of these “failures” can affect our future performance on new resolutions and challenges.
Another reason why our New Year’s Resolutions fail is due to vague or unachievable goals. According to an article from CBS News, a huge mistake people make “are setting goals that are too broad, too big, or too many.” Without a well-defined goal that is achievable and specific, it’s difficult to track success. By setting too many goals, it is difficult to accomplish them all and accomplish them all well.
These are both common mistakes in setting New Year’s Resolutions, so don’t feel bad if you’re raising your hand while reading this. There are ways to help avoid these pitfalls so you CAN achieve your goals in 2017!
Take on only one resolution at a time.
According to an article from WebMD, “Most resolutions actually require many behavior changes.” Because of this, it’s important not to take on more than you can handle. It takes a long time to develop a habit, and more than likely, your New Year’s Resolution requires you to start new habits. So, it’s important not to burden yourself with too many expectations!
Accountability is key.
If you have no one or nothing keeping you accountable during the year, it’s likely that things will fall through the cracks. If you don’t have someone in your life right now who can help you stay motivated, ask about your progress, or even do the same New Year’s Resolution with you, then make sure to keep yourself accountable. Journal entries, social media posts, blogging your progress, etc. are great ways to take note of everyday happenings and ultimately keep going.
Another approach to keep yourself accountable, according to an article from Forbes.com, is to “Ask yourself 10 questions every day to create good habits to meet your new year resolutions.” The author of the article used Marshall Goldsmith’s 6 daily questions from his book to start:
“Did I do my best to:
- Set clear goals?
- Make progress for achieving my goals?
- Find meaning?
- Be happy?
- Build positive relationships?
- Be fully engaged?”
Create an environment of success.
According to an article from CBS News, “If certain aspects of your environment are hindering your progress, change them.” Make your home, work, or social environment reflect the choices you want to make and the progress you want to see. The article continues with the example, “Can’t stop snacking? Get the junk food out of your pantry and refrigerator and replace them with healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and nuts.” No matter what your resolution, make sure that you aren’t allowing environmental factors (food, sleep, time, etc.) get in the way of your success!
Lastly, celebrate your success.
According to an article from the Business Coach Chicago, “If you want your resolutions to stick, you have to not only celebrate your wins, but you have to celebrate your progress along the way. When you do this, it makes it fun and builds momentum. And, when you have a detailed action plan, along with milestones that you are tracking along the way, it makes it easy to find things to celebrate!”
2017 is a fresh start for us all, so let’s make the most of it! We hope these strategies help you accomplish or exceed your New Year’s Resolutions this year. And don’t forget – the Harrisburg Area YMCA is here to help. Located in Elizabethville, Harrisburg, and Camp Hill, we offer classes, aquatics, personal training, health programs, child care, and more to help you reach your goals.
If you want to give us a try, click HERE to sign up for a FREE 2-Day Complimentary Membership at our select branches!
–Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator