New Year’s is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we hope to go next. Here’s the trouble with that. Most of us set unrealistic resolutions that ultimately end in failure. Come on, we’ve all done it. We are even urged to create resolutions. Why? Because not only is it the end of another year, but it is the perfect time to reflect on our accomplishments, failures and dreams. This however can become a trap in which you fail to achieve true resolution.
What is a resolution anyway?
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem; the act of resolving something. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resolution)
New Year’s resolutions, in particular can be very tricky. In theory, they’re a great idea, filled with great potential, but why are we failing? Here are my top three reasons why.
We make too many resolutions at once.
When reflecting on things we want to change or solve or a problem we want to fix, we have a tendency to list everything! In no time you find yourself on page two! Stop it! Take that list and prioritize it. Which items on your list really need changing the most? You can keep that long list in a file folder somewhere, just understand that three to five items is about the number of resolutions that can realistically be changed in a year. This brings me to the second reason resolutions fail.
We make them too vague.
If you plan to lose weight this year, it’s not enough to just declare it, you have to be specific. How much weight will you lose this year? You also need markers or check points that can be measured and adjusted. How much weight will you lose in one week? Now that’s the “what” in the equation, but what about the “how?” Will you lose weight by cutting out certain foods from your diet? Perhaps you plan to walk a mile each day. You get the drift! It’s not enough to set the goal you also have to be able to measure your success and have a plan in place to correct any errors.
We’re not motivated.
Motivation is essential for all accomplishments. Without it you will not be consistent in your efforts. Let’s use losing weight as an example. If getting active and losing weight were easy, everyone would do it…but we don’t. We come home after a long day of sitting in a chair to de-stress by sitting in another chair, unable to summon the energy to take that daily walk or even hit the gym. Sure, everyone says to “make time for what’s important to you,” but oversimplifying doesn’t make the struggle easier. You have to break down the mental walls keeping you from taking care of yourself. That’s where motivation is important. Take it one step at a time.
Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Don’t preoccupy your thoughts with the end result. Simply focus on today. If you need to, focus on the next 30 minutes! Point being, don’t give up! Chances are that whatever item you want to resolve has been around for a while now. This is not an overnight rodeo! Pace yourself and make sure that you have your measures in place to track progress. Don’t beat yourself up over mishaps, just begin again.
Sometimes the truth is that we just feel stuck! No matter how or what we try we simply feel paralyzed and unable to make the changes we want to make. Are you feeling stuck? There’s no shame in admitting it. Not sure if stuck is actually what you feel? I will address “Feeling Stuck” in my next post and provide you with ways to get out of the quicksand and get moving again.
Beverly Jones-Durr is known as the “Clarity Coach” because she teaches clients, consultants and other service professionals how to eliminate the fog, remove the clutter and focus on their purposeful and intentional path. She is the creator of Sistahs Unlimited, a program that teaches women how to develop their authentic selves and create action plans that are both attainable and measureable. You can follow her on Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube.