New Year’s Resolutions – Why They Fail and What to Do Instead

Happy New Year (and happy New Year’s Resolution) to you

The new year has just begun and this is the time to reflect and to make new year’s resolutions. What are your goals for 2018? Maybe you remember your last year’s resolutions or the ones before or … OK, you get the point.

If you set goals for the new year (or quarter, or month), this is already good news. And, if you write them down you are already better than 90% of the people. The bad news in many cases is, however, no matter how motivated and focused you are starting the momentum fades away as the year proceeds. January you are still on track. In February, well, there are other things to do as well. Then later you fall back to your usual routine and next year you make the same New Year’s resolution again.

Now, the question is why can’t you stick to a goal you really want to reach so badly? Good question. Really? There are many good answers to this question but I would like to ask you different question.

Instead of “Why can’t you stick to your goals?”, the new question is “Why do you keep doing what you are doing (although you might hate it)?”.

Especially at the beginning of the year, we have big dreams and goals about what we want and can achieve. We are strong, have willpower, everything is possible. But then we are back in our hamster wheel. Sometimes, without even knowing, because from the inside it looks like a career ladder (as someone fittingly quoted).

Become aware of your environment

You might be strong, I am sure you are. However, you are only one part of the equation. The other part is your environment. It is really hard to thrive in a bad environment. Consider the leopard, a strong and proud hunter in the wild. But in the cage in the zoo the same animal can just go up and down.

Of course, there are many parts of your environment you cannot control. That is OK, there is still enough you indeed can control. It does not even need to be a big change. Just small adjustments can have a big impact.

For example if your goal is to run a marathon, put your running shoes to a place where you can easily see them. If your goal is to lose weight, do not put the cookie jar on the table.

Practice makes perfect

If you want to learn a new instrument you need to practice. If you want to learn a new language you need to practice. The same is true for goal setting. It is not a once-per-year activity to make your New Year’s resolutions. You need to plan, take action, review, revise, experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. In other words you need to practice goal setting too.

Try to create an environment that is supporting your goal. It is also a good idea to make your goal visible (text and / or picture) and keep it where you can see it every day, e.g. on the fridge. You can use these templates here for your New Year’s resolution, goal list or goal reminder, if you like.

If you are more the electronic kind of person, you can also use our VidaGoals app in order to get daily reminders and motivation about your most import New Year’s resolutions and goals.

You can download the VidaGoals app for Android here:Get it on Google Play

Whatever you prefer, try to think about your environment and how you can make it as helpful as possible for reaching your New Year’s resolution.

All the best and your feedback is welcome as always.

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