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new year resolutions

Why New Year's Resolutions Fail (And How To Make Them Successful)

New Year's resolutions - we make them with enthusiasm, throw ourselves into them with gusto… aaaaaand, come April, they're all but forgotten. Sound familiar?

If you're like many of us (especially if you’re a busy, young parent) it can often feel like setting resolution goals is a huge waste of your precious time. new year resolutions

Our intentions are pure when we promise ourselves this is the year we'll get fit or finally tackle that personal/professional/fun (insert own version here) project – but our best efforts are all too soon bumped by less-than-stellar follow through.

So why do so many New Year's resolutions fail? And what needs to happen for us - busy parents alike - to actually create meaningful change and stick to our goals?

Let's jump straight in:

Treating Your Goals As A Sprint, Not A Marathon

Yes, yes - we know, the world would be a much better place if only magic wands actually existed! The trouble is, they don't and that means lasting change is going to take time (some) and effort (always).

It's important to remember that creating new habits can't happen overnight; even our "bad" ones took time to establish.

Try breaking down bigger goals into smaller milestones that you can easily measure over a longer period of time - it'll make the journey towards success much more manageable, and a heck of a lot less overwhelming.

Setting SMART Goals:

It's great to have inspiring aspirations for the year ahead – but without some form of structure, you’re unlikely to stick with them.

That’s why we recommend using the SMART goal system (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-sensitive) for each resolution.

This tried-and-tested approach means you'll be able to map out the exact steps required to reach your goal in a realistic and manageable timeframe.

Running Before You Can Walk

There are not many of us left who don't love a good lifehack (they're just so useful), however, when it comes to New Year's Resolutions, rushing into things is usually a sure-fire way to set yourself up for failure.

It is one thing to cutting time (aka corners) on simple things like meal prepping the kiddos lunches; quite another to jump into the deep end with a complex goal. Take it one step at a time, and build up your capacity.

Sometimes, there is no other way but through the thing...!

You Can Do This... (maybe?)

Self-belief and trust in your own abilities are just two thing you cannot do without when it comes to making changes.

It's vital to give yourself credit when deserved, and remember that it is OK to make mistakes along the way – nobody's perfect.

Your challenge is to resist letting fear of failure prevent you from moving forward with your goals; instead, use it as motivation to keep going and reach the end of your journey.

You Are Too Much In Your Head

Too much thinking and not enough doing is an all-too-common that humans do because they want to get it perfect the first time and, in order to do so, they try to anticipate any/all obstacles they could potentially face and try to come up with a solution before there even is a problem to solve!

This is also a very slippery slope down to procrastination and, potentially, complete abandonment of a goal.

We know it is hard but try approaching tasks/situations with an experimental attitude - give yourself permission to make mistakes, ask for help where needed or even change tactics if necessary in order to reach your goals.

Whatever it takes to get the desired result and, yes - that does include if you have to move the goal posts a little...

You Don’t Enjoy the Process

Some of us thrive on change, while others... not so much. If whatever your New Years resolutions is, is so far removed from your current self that it is, quite literally, a world apart – give yourself the chance to reframe the goal.

Maybe press 'pause' on joining an early morning running club or take up yoga but, rather, focus on introducing small changes such as taking a 10 minute break for some stretching in the middle of your workday or doing an evening stroll around the block

It's important to remember that when it comes to making change, it isn't an all-or-nothing situation. Small steps can eventually lead to great changes.

You Don’t Track Your Progress

Visual representations of your progress will not only motivate you to keep going but also make you aware of your blind spots.

Try picking a system (apps, journals, etc) that works for you and use it to keep track of the short-term milestones as well as long-term goals – this will help you stay accountable and give yourself an opportunity to adjust your plan accordingly.

Little To No Social Support

Willpower and sheer stubborn-ness will only get you so far. If you are serious about making changes, try to find people who can support and encourage you throughout your journey.

There a few things more soul-destroying than putting your heart into something and not having the backup of family or close friends.

So, if you are embarking on a big change, build a team around you that can help you stay motivated and accountable.

It's time to make those New Year's resolutions work for YOU rather than against! All it takes is some planning ahead of time, self-belief and asking for the support of your nearest and dearest.

You Don't Know Your Why

Goal setting in its basest form is easy; most of us have some idea of what we want but not necessarily how to get it - this is where we need to figure out why we want what we want.

Knowing the 'why' behind the goal will give you the drive and determination to make it happen; you know you want to change something isn't always enough to push you to actually do it.

You need clarity, a clear goal and purposeful steps that will lead you to your desired outcome. So take the time to understand why this particular change matters and what it means for you in the long-term.

New Years Resolution Success Check List:

As promised, here is a quick checklist to help you put your best foot forward and increase the chances of success with your resolution:

  • Create a plan and strategies to achieve your resolutions
  • Identify your motivation behind pursuing them.
  • Overcome challenges with determination and focus.
  • Celebrate successes and recognise each achievement.
  • Revisit progress often to stay motivated.
  • Remain accountable and encourage others doing the same.
  • Stay flexible and open to new ideas.
  • Reassess resolutions and adjust them if necessary.
  • Visualise the end goal and break down into smaller manageable steps.
  • Invest in yourself by creating a system that works best for you.
  • Make sure your goals are achievable and realistic.
  • Seek support from others who share common goals.

Final Thoughts

The beginning of a new year is, for many, the perfect time to find the motivation to make changes. The key is to remember that making resolutions isn't a one-size-fits-all concept; it's time to take control of your goal and make sure you get results.

It is also worth noting that not everyone wants to make these resolutions; if this is you, don’t feel any pressure to get involved.

Reaching goals and making changes are important but remembering to be kind to yourself and accepting that what works for one, may not be your bag and vice versa.

Happy New Year - may it be one full of adventures and personal growth!

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