January 1st is looming over us now, a mere two weeks away. Some of us are frantically trying to close out the year strong, some of us are daydreaming of the limitless possibilities 2016 holds, but one thing is certain – almost all of us are gearing up to make our resolutions for the new year.
Why New Years Resolutions Fail
Look, I’m not here to tell you not to set goals for the new year. I’m certainly not here to tell you to stop trying to improve yourself or your lot in life. You should want to improve, you should want to reach goals and make new ones, obliterate those and reach new heights in your career, personal life, health, motivation, confidence and beyond.
But we need to face facts for a second. And the fact is only 8% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions. That means 92% DO NOT. 92% of people bail on their resolutions every year. (For comparison, this Forbes article notes that ⅓ of Americans, approximately 33.33%, watch the Superbowl every year. That’s a heck of a lot more than 8%). Why is it that we are willing to sink our time and energy into the entertainment of the Superbowl, but consistently unwilling to invest the same into ourselves and our goals?
Now, there are a whole host of reasons that people fail. Sometimes the goals aren’t realistic, sometimes they are half-hearted, and I’m sure a few of those resolutions are made 4 hours into your famous New Year’s Eve party. No one should be attempting to make sound decisions, let alone huge proclamations for the upcoming year during a New Year’s party.
How To Stop Backing Out
The thing is, as magical as this time of year feels, and as fresh as a whole new calendar looks, January 1 isn’t a magic bullet to propel you into the success, self-improvement, and rock hard abs you keep promising yourself you’ll get.
A brand new year can be a great time to set the reset button, set positive intentions, and lay out your plans for the next 365 days, but you can’t bank on just saying them or writing them down at the end of December or start of January.
Try not to make grandiose goals for 2016. Or, if you insist on dreaming REALLY big, be prepared to break those dreams down into actionable chunks.
Set Specific Monthly Goals
Set monthly goals, instead of yearly, and scale those puppies accordingly. And as fun and dreamy as it can be, avoid setting vague goals. If you’re aiming for some illegible target in the distance, you’re far less likely to hit it than if you have a number, a dollar amount, or some other measurable outcome included with your resolutions.
In fact, setting tangible goals is the only way to really gauge whether or not you’ve hit them! For example, instead of saying you’ll “read more” say you’ll “read 15 books by 2017.”
Instead of saying you’ll “find more confidence” say you’ll “read 2 self-improvement books and develop a toolkit of confidence boosters that work for me.” Then, when next December rolls around you can ask yourself: Did I read 15 books? Yes, or no. Did I develop a toolkit to help me with my confidence? You either did, or you didn’t.
Track Your Progress
Yes, this requires more work. Yes, this is less glamorous, but it is also vital to accomplishing what you set out to do. If you regularly check in on how you’re doing, you’ll regularly be forced to face facts if you aren’t making the right choices to align you with your resolutions.
Don’t think of it as an opportunity to regularly feel guilty about how poorly you might be doing. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to adjust course (and your resolutions – newsflash they don’t have to stay the same!) if something doesn’t feel like it fits anymore.
Make 2016 the year you keep your resolutions, or at least have a strong enough sense of self to realize when the resolutions you made on January 1 no longer serve the person you’ve become when June 1 rolls around.
You change. Your ambition, goals, and resolutions can too. When you find the ones that ring true, month after month, make sure you have the right set of tools and people around ensure you rock those things and elevate your life!