Another New Year celebration has come and gone, and so have 80% of your New Year resolutions. Let’s be honest, how many years has new years eve rolled around and you decided on a few changes you will make to make you into a better person in the upcoming year?
I will be the first to admit it, I have done it time and time again. It’s healthy to have goals, everyone should always have at least one goal that they want to achieve. What we will actually be talking about today is why some, or most, of our New Year’s resolutions fail and why.
I think the biggest issue comes from the idea of a new year being like a reset button. As soon as January 1st hits, you become a brand new person with a brand new state of mind and lifestyle. That boost of motivation can only take you so far, eventually you lose your gas and go back to your usual lifestyle.
Lets take for example that you’re expecting yourself to get out of debt and save money in the new year, but you have no plan. How do you expect to succeed?
So this is what we will be exploring today. I have complied a small list of 5 of the most popular new year’s resolutions. We will be talking about why they fail, and how you can succeed.
1. Getting out of debt and saving money
Q: Why am I failing?
A: Well, most of the time failure can be caused by over reaching your goals. Or simply, trying to accomplish too much, too fast. Take for example: you owe $2,000 on your Visa and you have an income of $3,000 per month. If someone is desperate to be debt free and start saving, they fail to sit down and work on their budget. It LOOKS easy because you make more than what you owe, but let’s not forget about monthly expenses. So without proper planning and execution it wouldn’t take long to lose control and feel discouraged.
Q: Alright, so what’s the solution?
A: You NEED a plan! I will start by just going out and saying this, you should pay off your debts before starting to save money. When you owe a debt, the longer you keep it in your account the more you will lose because of accumulated interest. So in a nutshell, if you’re saving money before paying off your debt, you’re not really saving.
You need to put together a budget plan and a realistic date that you want all of your debts paid off for. Make sure to calculate every single expense that you have during the month and leave yourself a budget for spending money. Once you’re done writing down all of your necessary living expenses, it’s time to put in paying your debts into your budget. Here’s a nice technique: pay your smallest debts off first while putting minimum payments into your larger ones. This will give you a nice momentum going and it’ll make you feel good seeing that you’re working towards your goal. When you’re done paying off your small debts, then put more money into your larger debts. Once that is paid off as well, then you can start your savings plan! How does that sound? If you need some more advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
2. Be less stressed
Q: It’s been a month, why am I still stressed?!
A: We could all use less stress in our lives, but are you like most people that stress about trying to figure out how to destress? Very counterproductive, isn’t it? You have to pinpoint what your stressor is before how you can overcome it. You can assume that you’re generally stressed and there’s no way around it other than taking a Xanax, but there’s always a reason and in turn, always a solution.
Q: Alright, how do I figure out what is causing me stress?
A: It could be as simple as you don’t like your current job, a relationship or something similar. Simple in the sense that it’s easier to pinpoint and solve. When it comes to something deeper, then that calls for some digging. You need to take some time to yourself to evaluate your stress and see what the source is. Sometimes you will need guidance from a therapist or coach and that’s alright. Just don’t put pressure on yourself for a quick fix, go with the flow and do your best to avoid judging your stress. Try to be more mindful and jot down everytime you get stressed out or triggered. Write down the details of it, what, who, where, when, how were you triggered. Like all problems you need to gather data to find the best solution for the issue.
3. Learn Something New
Q: Forget it, I don’t have the time to learn something new.
A: Yes, you do! You just don’t know what you want to learn. With all these resources for online learning, you feel like you want to just take EVERY SINGLE COURSE. Here’s an example: I once signed up to Udemy and saw a ton of free courses that looked awesome. I bookmarked at least 20 of them, “started” one and never touched it again after a week. What was my problem? I didn’t have a specific goal of what I wanted to achieve and I put all of my motivation into something that I didn’t really care about which eventually burnt me out.
Q: Alright, how can I achieve learning something new?
A: Well let’s start with something you’ve always wanted to learn, what is it? Have you wanted to learn how to salsa? Maybe a new language? Go back to university?! Whatever it may be, choose something that would truly mean something to you even if it’s just for fun. Don’t be scared, just go ahead and do it and stick with it! If you find it too hard or scary to go at it alone then find a buddy that may be interested in learning the same thing. Don’t let your fear dictate what is for you or not. Success and growth lies outside your comfort zone. You will thank yourself later.
4. Quit smoking
Q: I know it’s bad for me so why can’t I quit?
A: It actually really depends on the person. Some people are completely capable of quitting cold turkey. For others they have to go through phases and substitute with e-cigarettes or other products. Which, for the record, e-cigarettes is not healthy for you either. You CAN do it, but perhaps you need to just change your approach.
Q: Alright, so how can I change my approach?
A: So to start off, why do you smoke? Usual answers are: hobby, stress, peer pressure and so on. Well, if you do it just to pass the time, try replacing it with something else that can stimulate your mind. Something that will keep you occupied. If it’s stress related, then figure out another, healthier habit you can pick up when you’re feeling stressed. Maybe start writing or go exercise. Peer pressure, well, you can tell your peers that you are trying to quit and would appreciate their support. If they choose to continue to pressure you, then I think it’s time you find a new group of people to hang out with. Also understand that cigarettes is a chemical so once your body is used to it, it’s going to take some work to ween it off. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Just like goal setting, set yourself up for success. Quit in small small steps that you can’t fail and then slowly increase it. And if all that fails, you can use the old school method of binge smoking until you’re physically sick to the point where smelling it makes you gag. Again, it depends on what YOU need.
5. Lose weight and get fit
Q: It’s been a month already and I STILL have not lost any weight! How come?
A: There are many things that can contribute to you not meeting your goal for weight loss. Factors can range from your consistency of exercising, diet or perhaps a medical condition and/or medication you’re taking.
Q: What can I do to reach my goal?
A: Ideally it would be a good idea to connect with someone that is a fitness professional that would be able to help you in all aspects of losing weight and getting fit. Alternatively, you can develop your own routine after doing some research. Also get an accountability partner that will make sure you’re keeping up with your goals! Losing weight usually requires a lifestyle change, depending on what your fitness goals are. In the whole scheme of things, it’s about creating good habits and fighting the bad ones. I also suggest seeing a nutritionist to get a full insight on what is right for your body. Diet is usually the #1 key factor of losing weight, you may not even know it but what you think is “healthy” might actually be the opposite for you.
So after all said and done, the common factor of why you fail? Is because 3 things:
1. You don’t have clear goals.
2. Your WHY isn’t strong enough.
3. You have not set yourself up for success with a detailed blueprint on how you’ll reach your goals.
Get clear on what you actually want and write out a DETAILED reason of WHY you even want to achieve it. Then start SMALL and increase it by 1% once you start getting consistent with hitting the goals.
Good luck, you got this!