It’s that time of year again…the time of year when we realize that the year is ending soon and a new year is beginning! There is something special about the New Year. It’s the perfect time to evaluate your life and your daily habits and make choices that will lead to lasting change. This page contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.
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The problem, though, is that very few people ever follow through with their resolutions. In fact, a staggering 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail within the first few weeks of the year! Why is that? Most people get stuck in a vicious cycle of failure and survival. They want to be successful, but their efforts fail to bring the desired results, they feel like a complete failure and settle for doing the bare minimum required for survival.
There are a few mistakes that people regularly make when setting goals and resolutions that can lead to the collapse of all your good intentions.
Going Too Big
One of the biggest mistake people make while setting goals, especially New Year’s Resolutions, is trying to change everything at once! How often have you heard the phrase, “Go big or go home,” implying that you need to do something huge to be successful?
In reality, making a number of small, daily changes instead of shooting for one big, overall goal can provide much better success. Instead of deciding to “become financially healthy,” make the decision to cut back one area of spending for a month. Decide to put all your change into a jar and see how quickly it adds up. Focus on paying off your smallest debt. Becoming financially stable is a fantastic long-term goal, but it will not happen overnight. If that’s your goal, and you don’t break it down into achievable chunks, you may be setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning.
Being Too Vague
When we think of resolutions and goals, we tend to think in big, broad sweeping goals that will completely change our lives. This isn’t very helpful. “Saving Money,” is great, but how are you going to do that? “Getting fit,” seems like a fantastic idea, but what does that mean? Take a look at some of your goals and see if you’ve defined a clear, specific outcome that will let you know you’ve reached that goal.
Don’t get so hung up on numbers that they become an obsession. Instead, build points of reference into your goal-setting that will provide you with a clear sense of accomplishment when you reach them.
Defining “Success” Incorrectly
Another mistake people make is to define what success means incorrectly. They know what the end goal is and assume that reaching that goal is “success.” The problem with this mindset is that it leads to disappointment and a sense of failure when you don’t succeed right away.
Instead, realize that success is actually making continual progress toward the final goal. The analogy of eating an apple is a great way to illustrate this: You can’t eat the whole apple in one bit. If “success” is devouring the whole apple, then you will be disappointed that most of the apple is still there, even after three bites. However, if you know that the end goal is to eat the apple, but success is consistently consuming bites, then the whole process brings satisfaction.
Knowing that every step along the way is key to the success of the overall process provides a lot of relief. Instead of focusing on the end goal that seems so far away, redefine success as the consistent daily changes that will in time add up to equal the final goal.
Assuming that Setting the Goal will Make It So
Making a resolution won’t change anything. This seems so simple, and yet people continue to have great intentions with no follow through! No matter how much you wish it, how much you think about it, change won’t happen until you MAKE change happen.
When thinking ahead about your New Year’s Resolutions, give thought to your reasons for choosing that particular resolution. If your resolution is to go to the gym, ask yourself why you’re not going already. It’s not because you don’t think it’s a good idea (or you’d already be going, right?). It’s probably not because you think it’s good for you, either. Did you fail at a similar resolution in the past? This can keep you from taking the necessary steps toward making your new goal happen out of fear of failing again.
If this is true, then make sure you do a little soul searching and find ways to navigate past the roadblocks that kept you back before. You need to have a plan in place that will make achieving your goal possible!
Underestimating the Value of Time
The final, but possibly the most important, mistake people make while setting New Year’s Resolutions is underestimating the value of time. Change takes time. Some changes take a LOT of time.
We live in a world of instant meals and quick wins and people have become accustomed to getting what they want immediately. Want a new car? Take out a loan and drive it home today! No time to cook dinner? That’s what fast food restaurants are for! These conveniences make it easy to take shortcuts that are actually harmful in the long term, even though they seem to solve a problem in the present.
The things that have lasting value – stable relationships, financial security, and weight loss, to name a few – take time to accomplish.
As you set your goals for the coming year, what mistakes are you planning to avoid?