Why I don’t do New Years Resolutions (and you shouldn’t either).

You read that right. Stop making resolutions. You know you’ll just fail at them anyways. After all 99% of the population has given up on their new years resolutions by March.

The problem isn’t you. It’s not even a human condition. The problem is in what new years resolutions have become. They have become something it is ok to quit. How often do you make the EXACT SAME resolution you made last year, hoping to make it just a few more weeks this time? Every year for the past 10 years? I think I’ve made my point.

Here’s what to do instead.

  1. Set more realistic, short term goals. Instead of saying “this year I’m going to….,” say “this month I’m going to.” By shortening the length of the goal, you will believe that you can accomplish it more and this belief will make it easier to stick with it and ultimately succeed.

  2. Be specific. Most new years resolutions are exceedingly vague. If your goal is to simply eat less sugar, then giving 1 of your m&m’s to each of your kids instead of eating the whole bag yourself is technically eating less sugar. Is it going to make a difference in your overall health – probably not. Instead, set an allowance for how much added sugar you CAN eat, such as 25 grams. Another option is to limit the days you can have it. Rather than have a bag of m&m’s whenever you feel like it, maybe you could allow yourself to have a bag of them only on Saturday if you’ve done a good job avoiding sugar the rest of the week. The point is – make your goal specific and then you can measure and keep track of your progress easier and don’t forget to reward yourself for doing well.

  3. Be realistic. Major lifestyle changes take time to adapt to. If you’ve been a couch potato your whole life, it’s pretty unreasonable to expect yourself to exercise every day. You could start out with exercising twice a week for the first month, then three times a week for the next couple of months and work up to working out 5 or 6 days a week by the end of the year. That is a much more believable and, therefore, achievable goal.

  4. Don’t expect a quick fix. If you think that you can get a 6-pack by simply not eating sugar and doing crunches for 10, 15, even 21 days, forget it! Expecting a quick fix will make it much more discouraging when it takes longer to get results and when you get discouraged, it makes it much harder to keep going. If you start out expecting it to take a few months to see results, then you’ll be able to keep a positive attitude about it longer and stick with it better. Short term programs like “do this for 21 days” are not about results, they are about trying to form new habits that will eventually lead to the results you want. You may seem some results quickly, but then it will usually slow down and require sustained effort for more changes.

There you have it. Apply these concepts to creating monthly goals rather than a hard to achieve year long goal. You’ll build confidence and achieve more and ultimately be a better you.

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