Itís that time of year again. Itís time to make resolutions to change, become a better person, learn new things or meet new goals. But how often are these resolutions even kept and thoroughly tackled? Changing a learned behavior is difficult. Itís not just one resolution that could have a problem, or the way one person acts or doesnít act. Everyone has trouble keeping their New Year resolutions. Thereís no denying that resolutions may fail, but why?
1. The Resolution is too Unrealistic
Itís possible that the given resolution is significantly unrealistic. You may find this especially among fitness or health resolutions. The thing is, for some people they may even believe the resolution is unrealistic, but they set the goal anyway. Working toward a resolution that someone is already aware of being difficult and that has a high chance of failing is pointless. The bar needs to be set at the right height. You need to be able to envision yourself reaching that goal and maybe even exceeding it. Donít worry, more than one realistic goal can be made, and there is always next year to set the bar a bit higher for achieving a more difficult resolution next year.
2. Your Resolution Might Not be Difficult Enough
On the flip side of the coin, sometimes a resolution may be too easy in the first place. Mark Murphy, the CEO of LeadershipIQ, says, ďThe more difficult the goal, the better your performance will be.Ē He writes that your brain needs to pay attention to the goal set. If the resolution is way too easy for a specific person, your brain will know it, and the commitment that should be present will not be. Therefore, goals need to be set that will stretch your thinking and make it challenging enough for the brain to commit to it. Simply said, it is beneficial to find a healthy balance of resolution difficulty.
3. Your Personality Might Be Working Against the Resolution
Personalities are what we are born with, so it may be hard to change it. Nevertheless, itís important to know what personality traits may keep us from reaching our goals. When we have a grasp on how our brain and emotions work, we will be able to look for signs of those things working against ourselves.
If you tend to procrastinate, you might want to look out for signs of putting the goals off until the right moment comes or always telling yourself youíll start tomorrow. Analytical personalities may cause us to overthink the goal a little bit too much. Just set a resolution and make small steps toward it. Individuals who have addictive personalities may have a difficult time with kicking that little habit you are trying to get rid of and it may be even more difficult to get rid of than what others may think. Even though people who have an addictive personality does not mean that they are necessarily using harmful substances, it is good to be aware of the actions associated with them and the reasons for such personality traits since 10-15% of the population have an addictive personality. This could be as simple as staying mindful to what you are doing, understanding why you partake in certain activities, and monitoring these actions so you can make the best choices moving forward!
Personalities are innate, but it is totally possible to overcome the things that hold us back to reach even the largest and drastic resolutions!
4. There May Be a Reward for Not Changing
Despite how much you want to change, there may be a subtle, yet rewarding payoff for not changing. You may not reach your goal of weight loss, but you enjoy great tasting food and eating whatever you want. You may fail at your resolution to stop smoking, but you felt less stressed because you allowed yourself to smoke. Itís easy to stay the same and thereís even something appealing about it. However, be sure to remember why the change needs occur and the reasons for the change when you feel tempted to give up.
5. You May Be Focusing on Negative Resolutions Rather than Positive Resolutions
Negative goals are things that need to be stopped, while positive goals are things that should be started. For example, the resolution might be to stop worrying, which is an example of a negative goal. Rather, the resolution should be made into a positive goal, like focusing on good things when you start to worry. For every negative goal, you should have a positive goal. Itís harder to learn to not do something than it is to learn to do something.
6. Failure to Plan Ahead
One common mistake of people who make resolutions is not planning ahead. Often, there needs to be a game plan in order to successfully complete the resolution. You canít resolve to go to the gym 4 times a week without obtaining a gym membership. Weeks go by and there are more excuses that arise, stopping you from ever making the resolution in the first place. Pretty soon, 6 months have passed and you never set foot in a gym. Make sure you plan ahead before you start on your resolution and youíll be more likely to follow through with it.
7. The Goals Are Set in Absolutes
Sometimes we can be ultra-specific when making resolutions. We might promise ourselves that we are going to read one book a week. In reality, we probably wonít reach that goal every single week. Unfortunately, we set ourselves up for failure when we set these kinds of absolute goals. Allow room for mistakes.
Most importantly, be sure to have a strategy for catching up when you lapse. As long as you recognize the possibility of falling down, youíll be able to get back up again if you have a good plan.