The Illusion of New Years Resolutions, and Why Most People Have Already Failed

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Appalachian Trail NJ 2016

Photo by gjsethexplores

 

This is it.  Twenty seventeen is going to be your year.  You are excited because this year you’re going to stick to those resolutions and be a better version of you.  New year new you, and you can not wait to get started.  That healthier body, new job, new life, new whatever is just around the corner.  And then January 1st comes; you’re tired from staying up late the night before watching the last seconds of 2016 tick away, and already you find yourself making excuses. That time is gone.  That year is gone.  All of the things you want to leave behind, gone.  You’re past excuses, gone.  Today we’re almost one month into the new year and most of you are no closer to achieving those resolutions than you were last year at this same time, so what happened?

Don’t worry you’re not alone.  In fact, nearly 92% of New Years Resolutions fail each year, and it doesn’t take long until we can realize if we’re going to stick with them or not.  According to one study it takes people just 3-4 weeks to lose their motivation and commitment to our resolutions.  The excitement of celebrating a new year, and doing everything we can to change our life quickly gets pushed aside while we deal with the same distractions that stood in your way before that clock struck midnight.

By now you’ll know whether or not you’re going  to keep with this years resolutions.  If you’re still grinding forward comment below, because stories of perseverance inspire me and anyone else who reads this.  For everyone else all is not lost.  Here’s what you can do.

1. STOP MAKING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS 

There is no magical genie who will come out and grant you a wish on January 1st.  Believing that a new year will inspire you to change bad habits that have plagued you over the last 365 days, and caused you to make a resolution in the first place, probably isn’t happening.  Especially if you’re in the 92% talked about above.

Everyday is a new day; a new opportunity for us to work on ourselves, and a new day to set a resolution.  During the month of December I would cringe every time I heard someone talk about their New Years Resolutions.  Lets just say you made your resolution on December 15 that would be 15 days closer that you could’ve been to your goal.  Fifteen days closer to creating a lasting habit, but, instead you waited for some imaginary magical day and you’re still sitting here today no closer to where you hoped to be.

2. WRITE AND READ YOUR RESOLUTION DAILY

Something that has worked for me, and most other very successful people is to write out your goals and how you plan on accomplishing them.  Then read them out loud to yourself when you first wake in the morning and again before you go to sleep at night.  If you could read them more great.  Make it a habit.  Reading our goals daily will help to program our subconscious mind, and keep us very consciously aware of what we must do for ourselves.  It will help keep us on track even when we don’t feel up to it.

Seeing our goals written out is a daily reminder to us until it becomes so automatic that we find ourselves working on our goals even when we’re not fully motivated to do so.  We will do it because we want to do it, because that’s what we’ve told ourselves to do.  We’ll get to a point that we don’t want to disappoint ourselves and we’ll find that we’re creating healthy habits more easily.  Also, be mindful of your changed behavior, especially when you feel good about doing something that is getting you closer to your goal.  Remember those days, especially on the days you’re trying to talk yourself out of putting in the work.

3.  SET A DEFINITE TIME THAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL 

This is a big one, and this is why I believe many resolutions fail.  We need to hold ourselves accountable.  A resolution is just a thought, an idea.  It’s something that we want to accomplish to better ourselves, but we don’t make a clear plan on how or when we’ll get there.  It’s just an idea floating around in our heads waiting for us to tell it how to work. When we write out our goals we should include a date we would like to accomplish them by.  Keep the time period realistic.  If you’re trying to lose 100 pounds it might be hard to do in a month and you’ll only end up disappointing yourself, which will lead to eventually giving up.

4.  I CAN.  I WILL.  I MUST!

Lets use weight loss as an example, since 21% of resolutions involve healthy living.  When you say I can lose the weight there is no definiteness associated with it.  It sounds very mundane.  I can do it, but will I?  I WILL lose the weight sounds much more certain, but there is plenty of room for pushing it off.  I will lose the weight, I just don’t know when.  Or, I will lose the wait, but (fill in excuse here).   When we say I MUST lose the weight we are telling ourselves that this has to happen.  This must happen. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I MUST accomplish this goal, and I MUST do it by whatever realistic date you decide.  When I first heard Tony Robbins say this I was instantly hooked to the idea. It just feels better.

Our minds are powerful and what we tell ourselves daily will influence how we perceive ourselves, and the day ahead.  Realistically understand that this type of change does not happen overnight, but daily practice of it will begin to change your perception.  To often people begin to put in the time, but when they don’t see anything changing they give up.  What they didn’t realize is that if they would’ve remained strong and kept putting in the work their life could be in a completely different place today.

Every single one of us is capable of achieving whatever thought or idea that floats around in our minds.  We just need to believe it.  Practice the simple tips above daily and take notice on how your thought process changes.  It is impossible to change anything today if we’re still thinking with the same mindset as we did yesterday; making the same excuses that we always have.  Its easy to get caught up in the chaos of life, but those of us who must change our perception will become unstoppable.

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4 thoughts on “The Illusion of New Years Resolutions, and Why Most People Have Already Failed

  1. Spot on Seth! Change your habits, language and mindset, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! We only fail if we give up, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we didn’t create these habits etc overnight, growth and change take work and action. We are a society of instant gratification, and when it doesn’t happen we are more apt to give up and actually continuously live in the spiral we yearn to change! 5% of people will do the hard work now for a period of time rather then a life full of dissatisfaction! So 95% of people won’t do the work to create the change they want to see and be and choose to just live a life unsatisfied:( but we are the masters of our world and everyday can choose to change! Get it Seth!

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