Setting New Year’s resolutions is something most of us do every single year, but it seems like almost none of us ever seem to follow through with them. So it begs the question, why do our New Year’s resolutions always fail? 

Does this situation sound familiar to you?

It’s January 1st. You’re motivated, you’re inspired, and you’re ready to totally SLAY your New Year’s Resolutions! “THIS year”, you think, is going to be the year I make BIG changes in my life!”.

But after a few weeks into January, you start to notice something…

You start to notice that all those “big changes” you were planning are just…not happening.

What’s the deal?! Why is it that year after year, we so often FAIL to keep our New Year’s Resolutions?

I saw a funny quote the other day that said “every night I go to bed believing that tomorrow I’ll wake up with the motivation and work ethic that I have never displayed in my entire life.”

Honestly, I think this may just be the most relatable thing I’ve ever read.

It took me YEARS to learn how to develop the motivation to truly stick with my goals. It wasn’t easy, and it took practice – and there were definitely times when I strayed off track and had to find my way back again.

But throughout all this practice, I learned a LOT about how our minds work with regards to setting goals for ourselves. So I’ll get right into it, with:

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

The number one reason why most people fail to keep their New Year’s Resolutions is undoubtedly because they are setting goals that are FAR TOO HIGH.

Although it may seem like it’s a good thing to set high goals, in reality, it just sets you up for disappointment down the road.

Ultimately, when you set goals that are too high, you’re expecting yourself to somehow magically adopt new habits overnight. AS IF adopting new habits was that easy!

The truth is, changing our habits is a lot more difficult than we think.

Over the years, I’ve learned that our ability to pursue our goals and stick with new habits is a combination of two things:

  1. Our underlying motivation behind our goals, and
  2. The habits we already have

In order to make goals and form new habits that we actually stick to, we need to get to the root cause of WHY we want this habit in the first place. How will it make us feel? Happier, more confident, more at ease? How is it going to change our life for the better?

On top of that, we also need to take into consideration the habits we already have. If you naturally wake up at 10am every morning, then setting your New Year’s Resolution to waking up at 6am may not be the most realistic thing to do. Think about your lifestyle as it already is – what are your current habits?

New Year’s Resolutions typically fail when your goals look something like this:

I want to wake up at x time to work out every day and lose x amount of weight by x date

If this is your goal, I can almost guarantee you that you won’t stick with this in the long run. Why? Because this goal does NOT sound fun. It sounds like you’re forcing yourself to do a whole lot of work for a number on the scale!

When you make goals simply in the hopes of reaching a final end point (like losing x amount of weight), you’re not forming sustainable goals. Instead, you’re trying to force habits onto yourself that don’t actually feel good to you and that WON’T work with your lifestyle – which is why you’ll never feel like doing them!

BUT, your New Year’s Resolutions will be less likely to fail if they look something like this:

I want to build a lifestyle that makes me feel energized in the morning – I want to move my body before work, and I want to feel good throughout the day

This is a MUCH healthier and more achievable goal because it doesn’t confine you to strict boundaries and tight guidelines. Instead of coming from a place of enforcement and restriction, it comes from a place of encouragement and inspiration. This way, you’ll feel much more motivated to actually work towards your goal.

goals - how do you want to feel?

They key is creating goals that are sustainable – ones that you want to pursue, ones that don’t feel like work

One very important thing to remember when it comes to sustainable goals is that you can’t expect them to happen overnight. There’s no way you’re going to be able to go from never exercising on January 1st to all of a sudden being Kayla Itsines on the 5th!

These habits take TIME.

It’s always uncomfortable implementing new habits at first – but if you make sure that your habits are things you actually enjoy doing and make you feel good, then reaching your goals is going to be SO much easier!

Some final tips to help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Focus on how you want to feel, rather than what you want to achieve. This will help reframe your mind into thinking about your goals as something you truly want, rather than something you need.
  2. Don’t make too many resolutions at once! Start out by choosing just one or two good goals – it may not seem like much, but trust me, it’ll be enough!
  3. Don’t expect miracles overnight. Remember that changing habits takes time.
  4. Write down your action plan – this will help you make solid steps towards actually reaching your goals. The more detail, the more likely you are to succeed.
  5. Keep a journal to track your progress. Write down everything – the good and the bad. This will help you learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.

And finally – remember to go easy on yourself. Make sure your resolutions are coming from a place of self-love and self-respect rather than just self-improvement for the sake of self-improvement. Enjoy the process and embrace the detours. This is what it’s all about!

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