5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work — part 2

There are 5 reasons your New Year's resolutions don't work, and they might not be what you think.So, right before this New Year’s, I talked about why your New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Remember?

Well, how are they working out for you so far?

The reason I’m asking is not to make you feel guilty or anything, but because by now we’ve exceeded the ‘cut-off date’, as it were.

I’ve seen articles refer to Jan. 23rd as the day where most people will have decided that their New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Tony Robbins refers to Jan. 15th as the cut-off date. And in Britain, apparently, people already give up by Jan. 10th.

If I were to judge from how many people were suddenly at the local gym on the last day of 2017, and how that number has kinda settled down to not much more than the usual by now, then yes, this cut-off date is totally a thing.

Why do people do this?

Well, like we talked about last time, it might be because they’re taking on too much; because it’s not really that important to them; and/or because they lack clarity, accountability, and a certain ‘deadline’ for completion.

Now, I know this might scare away a lot of people. But it’s exactly when those things are in place that we reach our goals. And this is exactly why most people don’t reach their goals.

Think about it. How many people do you know that go about setting goals like this?

Exactly: It’s probably about the same percentage of people you know as the percentage of the entire population who are actually doing so.

 

Your New Year's resolutions don't work. And even less so if you're British, apparently.
Of course, in Britain, the numbers might be different.

This is the thing about us humans: Whether we like it or not, we tend to conform. We’re social animals; it’s in our genes to avoid social stigma. Sure, some of us like to stand out in certain respects, but like I always say, the average is average by necessity.

(Hell, it’s the law of averages that says so in the first place.)

So, we’ve all grown accustomed to the people around us making New Year’s resolutions only to give up on them sometime during January.

If a lot of people around you are making New Year’s resolutions, there’s probably something to it, yeah? So then, why wouldn’t we do the same thing?

And if they fail at keeping theirs, you wouldn’t look too bad if you failed at keeping yours, right?

Making New Year’s resolutions for the sake of making them probably isn’t a good way to make permanent changes to your life.

 

Your New Year's resolutions don't work. And even less so if you're British, apparently.
And also, why WOULD you?

Me, I’ve long stopped making ‘em. Hell, even MY New Year’s resolutions don’t work.

And probably for the above reason:

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions because everyone else are doing it.

Make goals in life. Goals that are more important to you than anything else.

Because if you treat something like that for long enough, it WILL grow and prosper. By the same necessity that dictates why the majority fails at having THEIR goals grow and prosper.

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5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work

 

There are 5 reasons your New Year's resolutions don't work, and they might not be what you think.There are 5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work, and…

Oh yeah, here’s the thing about New Year’s resolutions: They don’t work.

And really, it should come as no surprise.

Because… You’ve been there. Haven’t you?

Walked around in those last few days of the year and kinda made a mental status of your life?

Thought about some things that might be nice to do — or that you even felt that you should do?

Stood there on a new Jan. 2nd (after your latest hangover had faded, of course), and found yourself with this new promise to yourself that you kinda had to deal with?

… Only to find that, after a certain period of time, this new thing that you had going on didn’t really work out. For whatever reason.

Yeah, I’ve been there, too. No judgment on my part.

If you're like Calvin, you don't need to know these 5 reasons your New Year's resolutions don't work.
And then, of course, there’s Calvin.

In fact, as it’s been repeated several times, one 2014 study found that while 45% of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of those resolutions get successfully carried out.

I’ve seen the same statistic represented through other studies, with minor variations. Some say 50% make resolutions; some say 10% of them are successful. But you get the gist of it.

The good news is that those resolutions fail for the same reasons that any other unsuccessful goal fails. I’ve found the 5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work, and I’ll walk you through them, here:

1. It’s not specific enough

How many times have you heard someone say that they wanna “live healthier” or “lose some weight” — or even said it yourself? Well excuse me, but what the tits does that even mean anyway?

Yes, I know what weight loss literally means. But try fasting or dehydrating yourself for a day and measure your weight before and after (actually, maybe don’t). Boom: You’ve lost some weight; goal accomplished.

No. Exactly WHAT concrete actions are you going to take WHEN in order to lose WHAT amount of excess body fat (not muscle!) by WHICH date? Oh yeah, about that…

2. It doesn’t have a clear deadline

But it’s a New Year’s resolution so I’ll have it done sometime this year LOL!

Right. And if we’re at Jan. 1st, this might mean later today. Or, it might mean in just short of 52 weeks. Please tell me you see the difference, because I’m not elaborating on this one.

3. You’re over-burdening yourself

If you set yourself a big New Year’s resolution, like running a marathon, without properly thinking it through, right there’s your problem. Huge goals necessarily require huge amounts of action.

And let’s face it, most of us only have so much spare time in the course of a day after work, shopping, domestic chores, and perhaps dealing with our progeny.

You earned it!
“Yeah, deal with THIS, old man!”

But anybody could find 5 or 10 minutes in a day. That is, if it’s important enough. Which brings me to…

4. It’s not really important to you

This one, I think, is hugely overlooked. See, whatever we do, harmful or beneficial, we do it because there are certain benefits to it.

For example, think of this Classic New Year’s resolution: Quitting smoking. Every single human being knows about the serious harms and risks of smoking. Yet, there are certain benefits to it.

The ritual. The perceived coolness. Certain possibilities of making social connections. The personal sanctuary of a smoking break. The immense instant gratification of a nicotine rush.

Whatever we want, we better make damn sure the benefits of getting it by far outweigh those of not getting it. And this has a lot to do with changing our mental game around it.

5. You have no accountability

Now, this one’s a bit tricky. See, in general, a certain amount of accountability is motivating for by far most of us. But it only takes so much accountability before it starts to feel like unwanted, outside pressure. Which is when our motivation reaches its breaking point.

For some, declaring their resolutions to their friends, families, colleagues etc. might help instil a sense of motivational accountability.

Others (like me) prefer the less-talking-more-action approach. — And then, of course, hold themselves accountable to the relevant people, like their coach, mentor, personal trainer, mastermind group… Whoever.

Find out what works for you.

Those are the 5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Now it’s up to you to make sure they do.

I recommend the following approach:

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Set goals that are realistic, important, specific and time-bound, and keep taking consistent action on them.

Happy New Year.

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