2 reasons why your New Year's resolutions flopped; and what to do instead

By now you may have an inkling as to whether your New Year’s resolutions are progressing well, or if they’ve fallen flat on their face. If you’ve disappointed yourself yet again, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

goals habits stick resolutions

We know from science it’s essential to have “resolutions”, or goals, to make the changes you wish for.  So, setting your goals at New Year is a good practice!

The trick is to set the right goals.

There are two reasons why most people don’t reach their goals:

1. They set goals they think they “should do”. The goal becomes more of a gaol!

The classic one for the New Year’s resolution: “I should diet as I put on 2kg over Xmas”.  The “should” makes it a chore and chores notoriously don’t get done.

What to do instead: Convert your “should” goals into “want to” goals.

Convert your “should” goals into “want to” goals

This means connecting to your WHY. If you connect to a value or a bigger picture desire, it fuels your motivation to make the goal super-attractive. You will feel good about doing the work required.  What if instead, you said “I want to lose 2kg over 3 months, to get in shape for the hike I’ve planned” or “I want to lose 2kg by Easter to feel great in my dress I bought for my friend’s wedding”.

Then, on days when you are challenged in sticking to your nutrition or exercise plan, you can reconnect with WHY this is important. This helps you re-engage with the HOW – the things you need to do to get it done. And you are more likely to achieve your goal.  

2. They don’t turn the actions that lead to their goal into habits.

It’s all very well to understand your WHY and feel motivated by your goal. But your motivation will only get you part of the way. Willpower alone is a limited resource that gets depleted. The rubber always hits the road in the doing. We only change if we act.

What to do instead: Entrench your actions in a way that builds a habit.

Entrench your actions in a way that builds a habit

So, for example, if you want to lose 2kg over 3 months, then you could decide to drink a glass of water and eat an apple every day at 3pm, a time when you normally hit your energy slump and reach for the sugar. Or, you could decide to take the stairs to your 6th floor office on the way in and out of work, rather than the lift. Eventually these behaviours become part of “how you do things” and become easier to do with less effort or willpower.  And then all these small steps build your confidence and boost your motivation, helping entrench the actions even more. Making it much more likely to achieve your goal.

To reach your goals you need to take a step back and develop a deep understanding of your values - what’s important for you in your life. Then you need to work out how to make your changes “stick”. If you don’t know how to do this, reach out to us and we’ll guide you to success.

With love from Flourishing Mothers