Hey, everyone! Long time, no see! I hope you all made it safely and successfully through the Fall Holiday Season. I had every intention of starting the blog back up as soon as my November novel project concluded, but I got sidetracked by holiday festivities, cooking, and eating. So Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and New Years’ Blessings to you all!
Now to get down to the nitty gritty. So. I realize how negative the title of this blog post sounds. I am not trying to be a pessimist here, folks. But, let’s face it: each and every year, millions of people set goals for themselves at the beginning of the year. And each and every year, most of those same millions lose steam after week two and talk themselves out of making the life changes for themselves that they had in mind.
I, too, used to fail at my resolutions. One of the quickest ways to succeed is to keep your mistakes close by you. Not to hang them over your head and make you feel horrible. But so that you are able to evaluate what portions of your actions and inactions resulted in success and which resulted in failure. I have summed up a few of the things I have learned over the years and condensed them down into what I consider the top five reasons that people abandoned their resolutions. I hope that this list will help you re-evaluate your goals, if necessary, in order that you might be successful in 2015. 🙂
1. You didn’t actually make your resolutions for yourself. This is the number one way to ensure that you will not be successful. Whether you’re resolving to lose fifteen pounds so that your husband finds you more attractive, or resolving to exercise more because your doctor told you you should, those are not likely to be successful goals. What is it you really want? Like, more than anything? Maybe it is a trip to Paris, to run your first half marathon, to write an original song, to acquire a new hobby, or to eat more fruits and vegetables. There is no wrong answer, as long as your goal is one that is important to YOU. Because if it isn’t, it is that much easier to talk yourself out of. After all, you have been fine for the last however-many years of your life NOT doing that thing, right? Fine, maybe. But if it is still on your mind after all this time, think how good it would feel to actually accomplish it.
2. You weren’t specific enough when you set them. One of the biggest reasons that people fail in their goal attainment is because of broad generalizations. Don’t make a nonspecific goal, such as, “I want to eat healthier in 2015.” Instead, make a goal that leaves little wiggle room: “I want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day this year, and reduce dessert to a once-a-week indulgence.” Instead of, “I want to run more in 2015,” try, “I want to increase my mileage by 10% each month so that I am ready to try a 10k this July.” Better yet? Sign up for the race! The more specific you can be in your goal setting, the less room you leave for error.
3. 365 days is too broad of a time frame. A year seems like a long time. The problem is, to most of us, it’s not. It is kind of like when you were a college student. Remember that final you “had all semester” to study for? Yet, somehow, the night before you are slamming coffee and cramming your brain full of facts? This works kind of like that. So, if you have bigger resolutions, try breaking them down on a timeline. Your goal is to eat healthier? In January, start eating a high-protein breakfast. In February, include raw veggies in your afternoon snack. In March, limit dessert to one night a week… and so on, and so forth. By the end of the year, your diet will have had a major overhaul, one sustainable step at a time. This is true of any of your goals. If your goal is to write a novel, aim for writing one morning each week. It all adds up! I like to write my goals down and re-read them at the beginning of every month to see how I have progressed. It is a good way to stay on track.
4. You didn’t share your aspirations. Many of us are reluctant to tell others about our resolutions because we have failed so many times in the past. But did you ever think that maybe you failed because you didn’t rally the support of friends and family around you? My best example of this is my novel writing project this last November. Right around the third week in November, I was done. I was days and days behind on my 50,000 word count. My brain had no words, and it felt like the plot of my story was going nowhere. Still, I went on to complete that project. Why? Certainly not because I wanted to in the moment! (Although I truly did want to finish.) The end seemed insurmountable. But my husband asked me daily how my progress was. My parents called to ask how the novel was coming. My best friend talked through some kinks in the plot with me as we lunged until our legs were rubber. And, I had posted the commitment to do the challenge on Facebook. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, we need to rely on those around us to get us through. Believe me, if you share a goal with people who love you, and let them know how important that goal is to you, they will hop on board your support wagon. And, when all of that new-found ambition wears off, you will be glad to have them there.
5. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Lastly, but not least of all, a major reason for failure is that your resolution is just too big. I am a dreamer. I am known to set lofty goals. After all, the idea is to make ourselves work, right? Well, yes and no. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, eliminating fast food from your diet completely is probably an unreasonable aspiration. Technically, it could be done. But when you forget to pack a lunch on a busy Monday halfway through January, and you swing through Subway for a sandwich, it really isn’t fair to say that you failed, when that would mean that you successfully went 14 meals without eating fast food. But, as humans, we see it that way. And then? All bets are off. So reach a little. Make yourself work for your resolution. After all, that is the point. But don’t set yourself up for failure. Be reasonable. Set resolutions that are realistically attainable for YOU. And, if you slip up, take a step back and look at the big picture.
So, there you have it. Those are a collection of the largest reasons that I have failed in the past and the lessons that I have learned from each of them. If you don’t have a list of 2015 Resolutions yet, I would highly encourage you to go make one. You can have one item on it, or fifteen. Just make sure that all of these improvements are about the most important person you know: yourself.
Happy New Year!
Yours in Health,