Failure or Success?

As deal experts we know that a resolution we don’t keep is always a bad deal. So today we’re taking a look at some of the biggest reasons resolutions fail, and what it takes to succeed.

Top 5 resolutions:

  • Lose weight – 22.92%
  • Get fit – 18.97%
  • Eat healthy food – 12.25%
  • Save money – 9.49%
  • Manage stress – 7.51%

Getting Healthy is Top Priority, but 92% Will Fail

It’s striking that the top three resolutions are all variations on the same general goal of improving one’s health.  But losing weight and getting healthy in general also are some of the most easily and commonly broken resolutions. In fact, studies suggest that only 8% of us will actually achieve our resolution goals. There’s even an actual clinical psychology term for the cycle of repeated failed attempts to change ourselves: “False Hope Syndrome” and it’s especially common for people who are trying to lose weight.

Think about that for a moment – resolving to change, followed by trying and failing, followed by a new set of resolutions that starts the cycle over again.

The Cold, Hard Facts:

Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

Here are just six of the biggest and sobering reasons why 92% of us just can’t seem to make it work.

Not passionate enough.
Is someone else urging you to lose weight or is that desire actually coming from you? Don’t take on a resolution just because you (or someone else) think you should. You have to want it for yourself in a very real and urgent way. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Not specific enough.
What do resolutions like losing weight, quitting smoking and reducing stress all have in common? They’re incredibly vague. When you commit to these goals, what does that actually mean? How much weight do you want to lose? They must be tangible and measurable in order for them to work.

Have a plan.
What’s the plan for lose 10 lbs for example? How are you going to get there? If you don’t know, then you’re not ready.

Have a budget for it.
Changing your diet can have profound impacts on your grocery budget.  Not to mention gym memberships, unless you have the discipline to work out at home.  What’s the monthly financial cost of sticking to your resolution going to be? If you haven’t accounted for these, your best efforts may be thwarted by your bank account.

Who is holding you accountable?
You know how all of your yoga friends are constantly posting on Facebook.  Yeah, it’s annoying as hell sometimes but I’m sure you can appreciate the thumbs up for encouragement from time to time.

Why post it at all?  Accountability!

Public declarations are a solid psychological tactic proven to increase the likelihood of sticking to your commitments. Whether or not your Facebook friends are actually paying attention to your yoga, you end up feeling compelled to explain yourself when you miss one, or when you have an off day.

How to Be Part of the 8% that succeed

7 Simple Ways

Creating resolutions that last is actually quite simple when you have a well-defined, actionable plan. Resolutions are rarely easy and most of them wouldn’t be so worthwhile if they were. Mix in a few psychological triggers to trick yourself into staying on target and attaining your goal will be that much easier.

Set SMART goals.
Your professional goals should be built on the SMART framework, apply it to your New Year’s resolutions. SMART is the idea that all goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant, and
  • Time-bound

If your goal is vague, then you’re really just a clanging symbol. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, decide on a realistic number of pounds or percentage of body fat, and then set a deadline. A goal of losing 10 pounds by your basketball season begins in September meets all five criteria.

Draft a detailed plan that looks ahead AND assesses the past.
Write up your resolutions like it’s your annual performance review at work. What were your goals for 2018? Did you meet them? Why or why not? Look at what you did well as well as where you’d like to improve. But include specific details.

Your motivation to change lies in your past. To have the best chance of success, you need to have the clearest understanding possible of your reasons for pursuing change. Put those reasons down in writing, in as much detail as you can.

Then, once you’ve addressed the past year, draft a detailed plan for reaching your goals. How will you lose those 10 pounds? Get specific about your diet. Get specific about your workout routine. If you’re trying to reduce your stress, get specific about what you will do to make that happen.

Put it on your calendar.
In fact, once you’ve gotten specific, schedule it out. Basically, fix it up so that you know exactly what you are supposed to be doing on any given day to get to your goal. If you’ve chosen losing weight or eating healthier, create a weekly menu plan so you know what you’re going to have for dinner every night, which means you don’t have to think about it on the fly. If you’re committed to going to weekly yoga classes, buy a class package and schedule all of them right away so you have a calendared appointment to keep.

Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t.
Negative framing can make any resolution seem like a prison. Instead of saying “I’m giving up desserts,” reframe the task as “I’m going to eat fruit for dessert.” Instead of “I’m giving up soda,” try “I’m drinking 2 litres of water per day,” which naturally pushes soda out of your diet. Find the stuff you enjoy and stop fretting about what you can’t do.

Spend money on it.
The “sunk costs fallacy” is the idea that once we’ve invested in an idea, even if it’s a bad idea, we’re less likely to walk away from it. In business, it’s often regarded as a trap, but you can harness this psychological trick for the common good as well. Add some cool new workout clothes into your budget. Going to the gym then becomes an excuse to wear them. And hey, look at that, you’re excited to go to the gym now!

Stick to small investments in the beginning, and work your way up to the big stuff later, once it’s clear the habit is firmly established and not going anywhere.

Write it all down.
Keep a journal. How was that Zumba class? What were the biggest challenges you faced this week sticking to the diet? What are your next steps to tackle those challenges moving forward? Writing down your accomplishments and failures helps to reinforce your routine and provides an opportunity to analyze your progress since it forces you to stop and think about what you’re doing.  Putting your workout intentions in writing will increase your chances of sticking to your plan.

Enlist your family and friends Get support.
Accountability is absolutely huge therefore you should enlist your family and friends. Tell the people in your life what you’re up to so they can cheer you on. Keep them informed of your progress. Get someone to take on the challenge with you as a partner. In fact, if it makes sense and you’re comfortable with it, consider making that journal public. This goes back to accountability.

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