It’s hard to believe that we’re already at New Year’s! And although for most, the weather is bitterly cold and the days are short, each New Year seems to bring the promise of a fresh start. Have you already thought about it? Will you be making a resolution or goal? Or, have you embraced the alternative “one word” focus for the New Year? (I’ll be blogging about my journey with “one word” in the near future. Or, do you wonder what the point of a resolution is when they seem to fail before February?

What will you do with this fresh start – your new chance of achieving something that has been elusive until now?  Maybe you’d like to lose weight, improve your fitness, write a book, foster deeper faith, become organized, de-clutter, start or finish that degree you’ve always wanted… or maybe it’s something totally different.

Regardless of what change might be stirring you as you look to the year ahead, you can improve your chance of success if you understand why so many resolutions fail. Some bleak statistics say that only 5% of resolutions will make it until next New Year’s Eve. While other surveys say that nearly 25% won’t last one week.

Why do so many resolutions fail?  Here are a few common reasons:

The goal focuses on results rather than actions.

We might resolve to lose 20 pounds or to write a book. But rather than having those as our goal, we might be more effective by making our goal to exercise a set number of times per week, reach a daily step goal, or limit our trips through the drive through. Likewise rather than focusing on writing a book, we can instead set a weekly word count goal. Adapt our goal to be achievable, measurable, and based on specific actions. The results will follow our actions.  

The goal isn’t written down.

Simply thinking about a goal isn’t enough – write it down. People who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve their goal than those who do not write them down! Put your written goals somewhere that you will see them often – on your mirror, on your refrigerator, on your computer or phone’s background.  Write them on a note card and place it next to your alarm clock so that you see it each morning.

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.”  Brian Tracy

You go about the goal the exact same way you have in the past.

If you’ve had the same resolution for the past five years and have been unsuccessful, change your approach. Do something differently. Establish milestones or mini-goals for your larger change and celebrate your successes along the way. Make a mini January goal that will get you started in the direction of your bigger goal.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Albert Einstein

The “why” for your goal isn’t remembered.

Too often the passion we have for our direction on January 1st vanishes when we encounter challenges causing us to give up. When you consider the “why” behind the goal you are more likely to find the strength to push past obstacles while maintaining your focus on difficult days. Write down your why. When you need a boost, re-read it to reassure yourself and encourage you.  Consider writing yourself a letter to read and re-read when you feel discouraged. In the letter talk to yourself candidly about why this change is so important. Your why might be a desire to be able to be active with your children, or to be around for your grandchildren. Or, your why might be fulfilling your purpose, positively impacting the world, or leaving a legacy.

Your goal is kept a secret.

Resolutions that are kept a secret are more likely to fail. Find a friend or family member to help you be accountable. Share your resolution. Make sure it is someone who will encourage you when your motivation wanes. Be honest with this individual about your progress as well as when you are struggling to keep your resolution. Welcome their feedback and encouragement throughout the year. If you stumble, reset, get back on track and keep going.

Are you making a resolution? If so, what is it? Or, do you have another way to set goals for th new year such as a one-word focus? I’ll be writing about my goals and one word in my next post. What are you doing… why not join the conversation, I’d love to hear from you!

Looking for encouragement in the New Year? Why not join me on Facebook or Instagram?

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

A few other post that may provide just the encouragement you need in the New Year: