5 Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolution Isn’t Working, and How to Fix It!
Let’s Check in on your 2022
Here we are, almost a whole month into 2022! How has the new year been treating you? What goals did you set for yourself with high hopes of achieving your dreams in this brand new year? Have you already left behind and forgotten some of the things you wanted to accomplish or improve this year? If you have, you are definitely not alone!
It seems that nearly everyone can find themselves in this cycle with their New Year’s Resolution, with or without the catarophizing thoughts of “I’ll never succeed at anything now”.
The truth is, we tend to set year-long goals that are just not attainable or sustainable for ourselves when it comes to the New Year’s Resolution. So, let’s re-evaluate your goals and see if we can get you going on the right path and help you feel more successful and proud of your achievements throughout 2022!
1.) Was your goal not clearly defined?
First, and most important, is to keep your goal and your plan simple and clear (yes, you do need a bit of a plan). The more complicated a plan is, the harder it becomes to maintain over time.
For example, if your goal is to increase an activity or hobby (such as exercise, reading, art making, creative writing, cooking, etc.) set a simple standard/expectation you want to meet that is clear and measurable.
This could mean a specific amount of time you want to engage in this activity, such as 20 minute per day or 1 hour per week. Or, a milestone you want to reach such as running a 5k or finally painting that fantastic idea on that special canvas you have been holding onto for years.
Making an unclear goal such as “run more” or “read more” or “make more art” can set you up to feel less invested in your goal since there aren’t any clear objectives to reach. It makes hard to know if you are succeeding or even taking steps towards your goal if it’s too vague.
2.) Were expectations set too high?
One of the biggest barriers to achieving our goals is having expectations that are so out of reach, we get discouraged trying and give it up all together. Keeping your goal small to ensure that you will be capable of achieving it is both motivating and encouraging.
Continuing with the example from above, I am much more likely to feel capable of reaching my goal of running a 5k, verses a 10k or marathon, especially if I don’t consider myself to be a “runner” in the first place.
Or, maybe I want to read more instead, I could set a goal to read 50 books throughout the year, or maybe just 12 (equating to 1 book per month) to help me feel more motivated to continue. If I end up reading more than 12, the great!
Keeping it small also means that you may meet your goal before the year is over. If that happens, then bring out the disco ball and the confetti because it’s time to celebrate!
Nobody said a New Year’s Resolution had to be achieved at the end of the year. This would also be a good opportunity to evaluate the benefits that working toward this goal brought to your life and if you want to continue.
3.) Did you give up completely too soon?
It is so easy to drop a goal when we realize we are not working towards meeting it. If this happens, it’s time to re-evaluate our goal and our plan, not to just abandon it completely.
Maybe you need help feeling motivated! Come up with some incentives to help you out. Make a sticker chart for yourself, (trust me, they are just as much fun for adults!) Offer yourself little rewards throughout the week when you have made progress towards your goal. Whatever you feel motivated to work towards, make that the reward that helps to keep you on track.
Does your goal seem too far away and it’s hard to see how working toward it today would make any difference? “Well, as long as I get it done before the end of the year, right?” Maybe, but if you made a New Year’s Resolution, something tells me you hoped to get started sooner rather than later.
If this sounds like you, break your goal up into smaller pieces to achieve throughout the year. You can have a weekly or monthly goal or “check-in” to keep track of your progress towards the ultimate goal (which is always happiness and feeling good about yourself, right?).
4.) Re-evaluate (again) when needed
If you find that you are continuously having a hard time feeling motivated or able to reach you goal, it’s time to re-evaluate and adapt. Think about it as editing your rough draft instead of failing the assignment. You can go back through the first 3 steps again to see where you might need to make some adjustments.
Was your goal too complicated or had too many parts, rules, or expectations to meet? Or were the expectations too loose or unclear? What could you simplify or clarify about your goal?
Was the goal set too high or too intense for you? Did the high expectations make it difficult to fit into your daily life and work schedule? What could you change about your goal to make it more attainable?
Did you try some methods to help motivate you or break down the goal into smaller pieces? What seemed to help and what didn’t help at all?
5.) Be kind to yourself!
Change is HARD! Please be kind to yourself! You are making a resolution to change something in your life because you want to and because you sense there could be some potential benefit. This is admirable!
Remember you are only human and, as humans, we are bound to make mistakes, and that’s okay.