Well, we’ve made it.
Another year in the books and, along with mostly everyone else that has survived 2016, I’m ready to start fresh.
Starting fresh in the new year can only mean one thing: RESOLUTIONS!
You know, resolutions. The declarations of change most people make on January first that only last until January 14th.
If you’re of the 45% of Americans that make New Year’s Resolutions, chances are you’ve had some disheartening results in years prior to this one. If so, you’re not alone. I’ve failed many times in the pursuit of my resolutions.
It took me a lot of years and a lot of research to discover what it takes to be successful in anything. Guess what? Success is challenging!
After finding the answers I was looking for, I realized why so many people struggle with their resolutions every single year.
Before I get any deeper into content, I want to encourage you to make a resolution. Regardless of your stance on whether or not resolutions actually work, they are very good for priming your brain to be in a growth mindset. Since life is all about growth and development, I implore you to set a new goal for yourself, big or small, to accomplish in the coming year.
Self-Improvement Related Resolutions
Weight Related Resolutions
Money Related Resolutions
And now I’m going to show you how to avoid sabotaging yourself in pursuit of your goals. Here’s why you might fail at achieving your resolutions this year.
1. You Don’t Know What You Actually Want
Let me guess, you want to lose weight this year? Or you want to change your life? Maybe it’s time for a career switch? I only make these assumptions because they are perennially the most common resolutions.
Here’s the issue, however. Those resolutions are way too vague.
They are really just ambiguous definitions of some of the things you want. In order to have a successful transformation, you have to know exactly how achieving your goals will impact your life, and in what quantities. Let’s use weight loss as the example.
If you tell me that you “want to lose weight,” I’ll tell you to stop eating for the rest of the day. Come morning, I can almost guarantee you’ll be lighter. But that’s not what you meant by lose weight, is it?
Weight loss is such a broad subject with so many different variables and elements that simply stating that you want to lose weight will not enable you to find the appropriate resources to do so.
Chances are, you’ll google “weight loss” and have millions of options to choose from, which will inevitably lead to overwhelm if you don’t know what works in the first place. On the other hand, if you wanted to lose 20 pounds in three months by going for long walks and utilizing weights twice per week, you’d be able to find much more specific answers.
Get crystal clear on what you want to accomplish and write it all out. Put it somewhere you can see on a daily basis as a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.
State your goals out loud every morning when you wake up and spend the first five minutes of the day focusing your attention on them.
In a week or two, you will automatically start tuning in on your goals as soon as you wake.
2. You Didn’t Plan for Setbacks
Imagine you decided to drive cross-country. You packed up the car with everything you need to survive the trip, the tires are fully inflated, and you just topped off the gas tank prior to your departure.
There’s only one problem with your trip. You didn’t plan for setbacks.
The first day flies by with no issues and you’re halfway through the second day when you realize the car is almost out of gas. You end up pushing the car to the nearest gas station, now setting you back precious time in your travels.
All that pushing made you hungry, so you tap into your food and water supply.
Realizing that you will need more gas down the way, you purchase and fill up an extra 5-gallon jug, just to be safe.
As you continue on your journey, you run over a nail and your tire goes flat. You forgot to check for a spare tire before you left and you now realize you don’t have one.
After pushing the car to yet another gas station, you patch your tire and dig into your food and water supplies once more. You don’t want to spend too much money, so you use up the 5-gallons of emergency gas rather than fill up at the station.
By the end of the first week, all of your food, fuel, and water supplies have depleted.
You are so stressed and exhausted from the setbacks of the trip that the destination doesn’t even seem worth it anymore and you head back home. That’s how the typical New Year’s Resolution goes.
The key to being successful in your pursuit of your goals is to understand, accept, and plan for setbacks, because they are going to happen.
You cannot be all or nothing in your journey. Give it your absolute best effort and try to improve every day, but understand that there will be some days where you get off track. That’s fine. As long as you continually focus on the goal at hand and try to better yourself each day, all those setbacks won’t amount to anything in the long run.
However, if at the first sign of setback you feel as though it is a lost cause, you’re going to fail.
3. You Value Comfort More Than Change
I’d be willing to argue that the absolute reason so many people fail their New Year’s Resolutions each year is because they want to live their old life, while also living their new life.
Any form of change is going to require the letting go of something familiar to you. Often, we must let go of something we perceive as a comfort or pleasure in our lives in order to accomplish something we’ve never done.
For example, if you get home every day from a long day of work and your idea of unwinding is plopping down on the couch in front of the TV with a cold six pack and some chips, but your resolution is to get in shape, you’re going to have to find a new way to unwind.
See, most people are unwilling to step far enough out of their comfort zone to experience real, lasting change. It’s understandable when you consider that you’re stepping into a likely unfamiliar territory and the levels of uncertainty rise within you.
But everyone that has ever accomplished anything great, at one time, had no idea what the hell they were doing. As long as you stay focused and dedicated to your goal, you will be able to persevere through the tough times of not knowing what to do.
You must be willing to identify your comfort traps and battle against them throughout the entirety of your pursuit. After a few weeks, your previous comforts will be uncomfortable and you won’t have to work so hard to avoid them.
Bonus Tip: Get a Coach!
There’s a reason all professional athletes have a coach. Could they succeed in the big leagues without a coach directing them? Possibly.
But the coach is there to help them identify their blind spots and ensure their improvement over the course of their time together.
Plus, the athlete will most certainly get where they want to go much sooner with a coach’s assistance.
This is how coaching in the real world works and, honestly, it works very well. If you continuously struggle to achieve your goals, feel stuck in some area of your life, or don’t know where to start your transformation, I strongly suggest you seek out a coach to help guide you along the way.
Make an investment into your future and start achieving more today by finding the right coach for you.
It could be me, or it could be someone else. Regardless, there is a coach out there that is a perfect match for you. Best of luck in your resolutions!