Why New Year’s Resolutions go off track and what you can do to get back in the flow…

Let’s be honest here with all the best intentions in the world many people tend to give up on their New Year’s Resolutions within the first few weeks of January, often due to unrealistic goals or lack of sustained motivation! I know – hands up I’ve been there!

People often give up on New Year’s resolutions due to setting overly ambitious goals, lacking a clear plan, facing unexpected challenges, or losing motivation over time. Additionally, forming new habits requires consistency, which can be difficult to maintain. Plus, January can often be a really challenging month with a whole heap of expectations attached to it. So, be kind to yourself.

Article Summary

New Year’s Resolution Statistics…

Statistics show that less than 10% of people who set New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them! But that doesn’t mean if you have something you want to change you should give up. A common misconception is that resolutions must begin in January. But, in reality, any month and any date can be chosen to begin your journey to change.

I wanted to start my new Podcast in January, but January was just too busy, so I’ve decided to launch it in February instead and you know what? That’s OK. Because done is better than perfect or not done at all! You get my drift and I’m sure you can relate! With all the best intentions in the world sometimes life throws us curve balls and we have to delay our plans. But that doesn’t mean we should use these delays as excuses to never begin!

 

Forget about the start date!

The most important thing is that we just START, regardless of the date. So, if you didn’t start that project, resolution, or life change on the first day of the year. Don’t worry and definitely don’t give up! There’s still plenty of time to make a positive impact. You have the whole year ahead of you and if you really want to make a change. Today is as good a starting date as any other!

 

Here is a helpful New Year Resolutions Check List to help you make that change.

 

New Year’s Resolutions. Check 1

Consider why you want to make this change?

To start the process off it’s important to understand why you want to improve yourself or make this change in the first place. By truly knowing these reasons, you can then set goals that really resonate with you and align with your values. This self-awareness will give you a greater sense of purpose and greatly increase your chances of success.

More often than not we are well aware of what we don’t like about our old habits or old behaviours, but we haven’t actually spent much time focusing on how we do want to feel or be instead. This very simple change in focus can have a dramatic impact on our ability to change our behaviour and be a real game changer.

To really increase our motivation and anticipation levels it can be helpful to future pace and imagine ourselves already accomplishing our goals rather than berating ourselves for our old unwanted behaviours.

An example of this might be, rather than worrying about your health being at risk, as a smoker, imagine how much healthier, fitter, and stronger you will feel as a NON-SMOKER. Or, rather than giving yourself a hard time for watching too much Netflix and becoming a couch potato. Imagine how much happier and healthier you will feel being more active and getting those endorphins going!

 New Year’s Resolutions. Check 2

Make sure your goals are realistic…

Another important thing to consider when you want to make any major life changes is to do a sense check to make sure that you have actually set achievable goals and that your plans are realistic. There is nothing more deflating and de-motivating than setting yourself crazy unrealistic goals that you will never be able to keep. So, let’s manage those expectations!

If a goal feels overwhelming or impossible, it probably is! So, it’s time to review it. Unachievable goals often lack detail, have unrealistic timelines, or rely on factors beyond your control. Consider if it aligns with your skills, resources, time, and finances. If you consistently fall short, despite effort, stop bashing yourself over your head and adjust the goal to be more realistic.

I once set myself the goal of writing a new blog post every single day, but the truth was that this was totally unrealistic. I just didn’t have the time, energy or inclination  to commit to this every day and so it was unattainable from the start and soon fell by the wayside. We often make similar commitments about exercise and going to the gym or some other important project etc. But be honest with yourself. It sets us up to fail. A far more achievable goal might be to say that you would like to commit to your new activity several times that week.

You might have heard of the classic SMART rule before, and it still stands true. I use it a lot when coaching clients. Setting achievable life goals involves making them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). Break larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, create a realistic timeline, and stay adaptable to adjustments. It’s also good practice to regularly review and reassess your goals to ensure they still align with your evolving priorities and circumstances.

 New Year’s Resolutions. Check 3

Create a helpful plan…

Creating a detailed practical plan can sometimes be another helpful step towards achieving long-term success. By mapping out the necessary steps to reach your goals, you create a clear roadmap for progress. This not only allows you to measure and track your accomplishments but also gives you a sense of fulfillment and motivation to keep going.

Whenever I feel muddled in my head. I find I get instant clarity when I write it down and break it up into achievable actions. There is also something immensely satisfying about ticking something off a list!

Creating a plan can also be a helpful way of highlighting potential challenges and reviewing whether the goal is feasible within a reasonable timeframe. Seeking feedback from others can also provide valuable insights and help us see things from a different perspective.

It’s important to remember that changing long-standing habits takes time and commitment. It’s easy to get discouraged if progress is slow or if setbacks occur but it’s important to stay positive and persistent. Remember even small steps forward are progress, and every effort contributes to your ultimate success.

New Year’s Resolutions. Check 4

Choose activities that bring you joy…

This is really important. Choosing the right routine is essential for maintaining healthy lifestyle changes. We are far more likely to continue with a good habit if we can engage in activities that bring us genuine joy and satisfaction.

Whether it’s finding a workout you love or preparing healthy meals that taste great, making positive changes can have rewarding outcomes in multiple areas of your life if you find something that aligns with your true values.

When I decided to get fit, for example, I quickly realised that flogging myself in the gym wasn’t for me. But what I did love was Zumba and swimming. I found these activities fun and enjoyable. In fact, I even found swimming to be relaxing and meditative. Because of this I felt motivated to continue.   Rather than engaging in activities that you find dull and uninspiring. Try and find hobbies that engage you and give you joy. This way you are far more likely to repeat them again and again and allow them to become a new positive healthy routine.

 New Year’s Resolutions. Check 5

Get your support network in place…

When we are on a mission with something. It’s sometimes easy to have tunnel vision. It’s important to realise though that we are not an island. The truth is having support from friends, family, doctors, nutritionists, health workers, and sometimes therapists (like me!!!) can greatly impact your journey towards achieving your goals.

Building a network of people around you who understand and encourage your efforts can provide necessary motivation and accountability. By surrounding yourself with a supportive community, you increase your chances of success. So give yourself a little time to understand who those people might be for you.

A support network is crucial because it provides emotional encouragement, practical assistance, and valuable perspectives. Having people who understand and believe in your goals can boost motivation and help overcome challenges. Supportive relationships contribute to resilience and make the journey toward your objectives more manageable and fulfilling.

I like to advise my clients to create their own private support network that might include health professionals, friends, family. Find people who build you up and reenergise you. You have important things to do and you deserve to have the best support team around you. You don’t have to do this alone.

 New Year’s Resolutions. Check 6

Be kind to yourself if you slip up…

While it’s important to stay on track, occasional slip-ups are normal. Deviating from your plan doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it just gives you an opportunity to reset. Embrace the idea of ‘cheat days’ and be kind to yourself when setbacks happen. Remember each and every attempt to change your behaviour leads you that much closer to success and progress is progress, no matter how small!

Being kind to yourself when you have an off day is important for maintaining a healthy mindset. It’s OK if you are having a wobble. Some days we will feel calm and steady and other days we might feel a little off balance. The secret is being kind and compassionate to yourself as you dance between the two…

Treating yourself with kindness acknowledges that everyone makes mistakes and faces setbacks, promoting a healthier mindset and emotional balance. If you have a blip, it doesn’t mean that all your hard work is wasted or that you can’t get back on track again. If helpful simply identify the trigger or trouble spot you ran into and decide how you can cope with that issue better next time round.

I cannot emphasise enough how showing yourself genuine kindness and compassion is crucial for your overall mental health and well-being. It helps increase self-care and self-esteem, reduces stress, fosters resilience and cultivates a more positive approach to life’s challenges. So if you make any more resolutions this year make sure it’s upping your levels of self-compassion. That way you can’t go far wrong whatever your goals are…

Conclusion:

In conclusion, making new plans stick requires clarifying your intentions, setting realistic goals, making helpful plans, being patient, and showing self-compassion. By surrounding yourself with supportive people, seeking evidence-based information, and choosing routines that bring you joy, you can improve your chances of long-term success. It’s never too late to make positive changes and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Let’s make this year the year we turn our resolutions into reality!

 

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