Today we're talking about new year resolutions and why so many of us fail at keeping them going year after year. I look at the statistics behind new years resolution failure, the most common resolutions set each year, and explore some reasons why they fail and tips to avoid failure. I also share an interesting psychological angle into why we don't succeed with our resolutions. But all of this is overshadowed by the #1 reason why we fail to accomplish our new years resolutions, which I share at the end.
It's 2 days before the new year, and I want to talk about NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS. I've got some statistics and psychology in this episode, and I'll link to all of the resources that I used in the show notes on Fireside Network. What you'll hear in today's episode:
- The research on New Years Resolutions and why they fail
- An interesting psychological phenomena that could be hurting your chances of succeeding with your resolutions
- My #1 reason why resolutions fail, and what to do about it
Rough Episode Transcription RESEARCH
50% of people set resolutions 25% abandoned by end of first week By the end of the year, only 8% of people will have kept their new years resolutions. Many people make the same resolutions year after year (some up to 10x, the ones who succeed normally have tried 6x)
- exercise more
- lose weight
- Quit smoking
- get out of debt.
- manage money better
Common reasons for failure include:
- Setting too many
- Getting derailed by small failures
- Setting overly ambitious goals (will be 100% debt free)
- Overly restrictive goals (will eat zero sugar this year)
- Thinking you can change more quickly, more easily, or more # (amount) than is the reality — amount/speed/ease
Tips from the Psychology Today article "Why New Years Resolutions Fail
- Focus on one resolution, rather several;
- Set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be;
- Don't wait till New Year's eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day;
- Take small steps. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once;
- Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you that you have to report to;
- Celebrate your success between milestones. Don't wait the goal to be finally completed;
- Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits;
- Focus on the present. What's the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
- Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens,moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future.
Psychological angle: Because resolutions are typically about things that we haven’t been able to achieve during the year, we end up feeling gratified simply by thinking about
doing them. The intention satisfies us in that moment, and we like that because we don’t have to actually go out and do anything. It’s called AFFECTIVE FORECASTING. It makes sense because when you make a resolution, you feel great about it in that moment, you feel excited about the new you that will be a reality by the end of the year, and you predict that you’ll feel the same great feelings about the resolution in the future. But when you finally get into action it doesn’t feel as great as you had predicted, and so you put it off. #1 REASON FOR FAILURE
Big reasons for failure: YOUR WHY IS TOO SMALL! You are not ready to make a change. You set resolutions because other people set resolutions. It’s what you do before the new year. But you are very attached to the habits (actions, thoughts, relationships) that have gotten you to where you are today, and you are unwilling to release those attachments. So you get started on the resolution, things go well for a few weeks, then your attachments are really tested, and you fall back on the habits that you’ve put in work to form. And the cycle repeats itself. You also start and stop because they don't have a big enough Why. What is the big Why that's inspiring you to wake up and get going each day? What bigger purpose are you serving? Is it big enough to weather the storms of apathy? Is your why more appealing than sitting on the couch? That's it's biggest competition! Is your why big enough to keep burning through life circumstances? If your why was a flame, how big would that flame be? Going through Mission Statement process right now. Examining my beliefs, aka values, what they mean to me, my gifts, talents and passions, looking at my environments and what abundance means and feels like to me. The end result will be a Mission Statement, a bigger WHY, my North Star. MOVE
Get clear on your big WHY and turn it into a Personal Mission Statement. There are many ways to do it, and I absolutely recommend working with someone who has experience crafting powerful Mission Statements. But here's the thing: simply spending 10 minutes thinking about your why and composing a simple mission statement will empower you. Specific actions this week:
- Spend 10 minutes thinking about and writing down your big WHY.
- 5 minutes thinking about it.
- 5 minutes turning it into a powerful, single sentence
Will fuel your New Years Resolution motivation, but will also act as your North Star when dealing with life circumstances in general. Many different types of ways to write your WHY. I've included the versions of my personal mission statement in the show notes so you can see a few examples. GRATITUDE
Today’s gratitude goes to:
- iTunes reviewers.
- Joey Pecoraro and maxzwell for the music used in today’s episode (links to the tracks are in the show notes)
- thank you to all of your for listening
And with that, my name is Matthew Bivens HERE’S TO YOU HAVING IT ALL!