The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions has been around for thousands of years. The Babylonians are said to be the first people to make resolutions for the new year in the form of promises. They made promises to the gods to pay their debts and returned anything they borrowed. If they kept these promises, they believed they will be in the gods’ good graces, and if they didn’t they would fall out of their favor1. In modern times, we have moved toward a more secular practice of setting resolutions that have mainly focused on self-improvement. The track record of successful self-improvement resolutions has not been great. It is estimated that out of around 40% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of people have actually achieved them2. Why is this and how can we change it?
- Your goals are not achievable. People really want to change in the new year. They set huge goals that they want to accomplish and try to make too many changes at once. The smart thing to do is break up the larger goals into smaller ones and make one change at a time. Once you achieve one goal, move to the next and so on.
- Lack of confidence in achieving your goal. As mentioned, many people have failed in their past New Year’s resolutions. This definitely plays a role in confidence. With lack of confidence comes failure to act because there is a fear that you won’t succeed. We want you to think about why you didn’t achieve your past goals. Write these reasons down, and then come up with solutions of how to fix the reasons you failed previously. Coming up with solutions to your past mistakes will help you gain the confidence you need to achieve your goals for 2020.
- You have no social support. It’s common for people to keep their goals secret because they may feel self-conscious about their goals or they are afraid to fail in front of others. It’s so important to not be alone during time of change. You need someone to help keep you motivated and provide you with some kind of accountability, even if it’s strangers in a Facebook group.
- You lack happiness. Not having fun trying to achieve your New Year’s resolution leads to failure. Think about it… if you are unhappy doing something, why would you be motivated to continue? When you set your new goals, make sure you think about fun ways to achieve them. If you can’t think of any, maybe consider tweaking your goals.
- You don’t have a plan. One the biggest mistakes people make when trying to make change, is jumping in without any plans. Without a plan, when you run into a road block you won’t know how to get around it. In this case, you will most likely run into setback after setback. Before you begin your journey, write down exactly how you want to achieve your goals. If you still have a setback, it’s okay just take a look at your plan and get back on board.