Where You’ve Gone Wrong With Past Resolutions (And How to Fix it This Year)

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‘Tis the season of reading about how the overwhelming majority of people will fail at their new year’s resolutions.

While the statistics may be depressing, you are not doomed to fail at making positive changes in the new year (or ever.)

A slightly different approach to your goal setting will make you much more likely to be successful. This article will show you the key to following through on your resolution this year and every year to come.

The Problem with Most Resolutions

It’s not that wanting to lose weight, eat better, find a relationship, or save more money are bad ideas.

Quite to the contrary, improving your mental, physical, emotional, or financial health will benefit you across many aspects of your life.

So what’s the problem?

We typically focus on an outcome that is out of our hands. You can’t make your soulmate walk into your life or your skinny jeans suddenly fit in early 2018.

We also tend to be vague with our goals which makes them impossible to achieve. What does it mean to “eat better”? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?

Vague, outcome-based resolutions leave us prone to failure.

Get Specific

An area of improvement such as finances, weight, or love is a great place to start but you’ve got to get much more specific if you want to be successful.

How much money do you want to save? How much weight do you want to lose? What kind of relationship are you looking for?

Ambiguous goals make it very difficult to determine whether or not you’ve achieved them.

Instead of “saving money,” say you want to save $10,000 this year.

Not only does this make it very easy to determine whether or not you’ve reached your goal (you either saved $10,000 or you didn’t), but once you have this number in mind, you can break it down into more reasonable chunks like $833/month, $28/week, or $4/day.

The more specific you can get, the easier it’ll be to reverse engineer how to actually make it a reality. 

Use the Resolution Creation Worksheet to help you get specific on your goals this year. 

Focus on Behaviors

You aren’t going to just wake up one day and find an extra $10,000 in your bank account. You have to save little bits at a time over the course of many months to reach this goal.

Similarly, you aren’t going to wake up 50 pounds lighter on January 15th just because you told all your friends on December 31st that you want to lose weight.

Instead of taking the speaking-it-into-the-universe-and-hoping-to-comes-true approach of years gone by, focus on what you can directly control: your behaviors.

Brainstorm actionable ways that you can improve the likelihood of reaching your goal.

If your goal is to lose weight, focus your efforts on working out a certain number of times per week and eating a vegetable with every meal.

For financial goals, set up a certain percentage of your paycheck to go directly into savings. Put a limit on number of times per week you’ll buy coffee or lunch on-the-go and put that extra money into savings.

Increase your odds of finding a relationship by going to a certain number of social events each month, speaking to, or messaging a certain number of people each day.

Changes to your life don’t happen by accident. They take concerted effort, day-after-day.

You can’t control the rate at which your body loses weight or whether the barista around the corner looks forward to seeing you, too.

You can only control what you do.

The key to following through on your resolution this year is to focus on your day-to-day behaviors that will make it more likely that you reach your bigger, outcome-based goal.

Use the Resolution Creation Worksheet to determine your daily actions. 

All You Can Do Is Your Best

There is the possibility that despite your best efforts, despite continued focus on the right actions, you’ll fall short of your goal.

You can’t control what pops up throughout the year and threatens to derail you.

Maybe your car needs new brakes and that eats into your savings. Or you’re losing weight more slowly than you’d projected. Maybe none of the suitors you meet just feel quite right.

This doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

Saving $9,000 this year is better than not saving any. Losing 43 pounds is better than gaining 5. Making some new friends is better than being lonely.

Accept that some things are out of your control and instead focus each day on enjoying the process of making gradual changes to your life.

Download your Resolution Creation Worksheet to start game planning right away. 

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