I am not sure about you, but I know I am guilty of "new year, new me syndrome." I have set up all these big resolutions and ideas about being a more motivated, positive, healthier version of myself just because it is a new year. Like watching a giant ball drop on television somehow gives me the power to overcome my old habits and wake up a new person. Then somewhere in the year, I find myself giving up on my resolution and sometimes forgetting I even set one in the first place. I lose my motivation, and my resolution is no longer a part of my life. The idea of having a New Year's resolution is great; it's something that is supposed to motivate us to change and take ownership over the upcoming year. But if that's true, why do 80% of people abandon their resolution by February? And why do only 9% of people actually feel like they have achieved their resolution by the end of the year? What are we doing wrong that we can not stick to our resolutions? Let's answer some of these questions and explore how we can achieve our resolutions in 2023.
Stop Setting Yourself Up to Fail
If you relate to being someone who has trouble following through with their New Year's resolution, I hate to break it to you, but you may be setting yourself up to fail from the start. When we make resolutions, they are often big life changes and vague, like the most common resolutions, which are losing weight and being healthier. Although a great resolution to have, it is set up unrealistically. Saying you want to lose a certain amount of weight or be healthier is unrealistic because it is not specific enough. When we set goals that are not specific, we tend to feel overwhelmed with how to achieve them, and when we do not see achievement, we start to feel discouraged. Setting a realistic resolution means thinking about more than just what you want but how you can achieve it. It is easy for us to say at the beginning of the year that we will eat healthier meals, but if we haven't taken the time to define what that means and how often we want to eat them, then we are setting ourselves up to fail.
Be Honest With Yourself, & Make a SMART Plan
When we make a resolution, we often feel confident and excited, which is a wonderful feeling. We deserve to go into the new year feeling that way and like we have the power to achieve our resolution. With that being said, it's easy for us to put a lot of pressure on our future selves when making a resolution, so we go big. We assume we will be different this year and that our future self will somehow figure out what our old self has not yet and achieve our resolution. While that may be true, it takes work, and setting an unrealistic resolution for yourself can not only add unnecessary pressure, but it can also cause you to feel depressed in the new year because you were not able to achieve the resolution. Think honestly about yourself and your resolution, reflect on your current state, and what changes you would need to make that resolution happen. Instead of focusing only on the resolution, break it down into smaller steps and goals and make a plan throughout the year. Say your resolution is to lose 24 pounds this year; instead of that, focus on the steps you would need to take to lose 2 pounds a month. This makes the resolution feel more attainable. Ask yourself what you would need to achieve this resolution, what types of changes you need to make, and what strengths and skills do you already have that can help you. Take time to make those smaller goals SMART by making them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. By breaking your resolution down into smaller steps, you not only get the sweet release of endorphins when you complete each small goal, but you also allow yourself to celebrate and acknowledge your progress instead of focusing on how you have not achieved your overall resolution yet.
It is a very valuable question to ask yourself what you need to stay accountable for your resolution and the smaller goals you break it down into. Without accountability and motivation, it's easy to give up. Accountability looks different for everyone, and that is okay. For you, it may look like setting the alarm on your phone with positive affirmation and words of encouragement. For someone else, it may be sharing their resolution with a support person in their life and making a vision board. Maybe it's journaling about your experience and writing down your feelings along the way. Maybe it is joining a group or working with a health coach to help you develop those smaller goals. Whatever accountability looks like for you, make it a part of this year.
Acknowledge the Progress You Have Made
We make resolutions because it is something we want to happen and a change we want to see in our lives. Change and growth are beautiful processes we all go through, but as we set resolutions, we must acknowledge the strengths, skills, and achievements we already have made. Take time to focus on the changes you have already made in your life and allow yourself the time to celebrate them. Focus on your strengths and how they can help you achieve your resolution. Remember to be kind to yourself and believe in yourself. You are your own biggest support system, so if you speak negatively of yourself or doubt your ability and strengths, your resolution will not happen. Try taking steps each day to be kinder to yourself and to recognize the small positive steps you have taken to achieve your goals, even if they did not go according to plan. You can do this, and if you believe that and follow the steps above, you CAN achieve your resolution this year!
For extra support, download our 2023 Resolution Workbook attached to this post!