I hate to be the bearer of bad news but studies show that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after 30 days and only 8% of people will actually accomplish them by year end.
But you do not have to be a statistic, you have me and my no bullshit advice.
I believe that the majority of people fail to achieve their new years resolutions because although they enter them with the best intentions they leave out 3 key components to successful goal setting.
1. Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
2. What consistent actions can you take to help you accomplish your goal?
3. Why Haven’t I Accomplished This Already?
It is not enough to say we are going to do something. We have to have a clear vision in our head as to why and how we will go about making our goals a reality. Also, our goal is likely something we have been aware of the need to achieve for a while. Maybe we have even tried and failed in the past. Figuring out why we either did not achieve it or procrastinated on pursuing it is imperative if we want to have success.
So lets get right into it and break each component down.
Throughout my 36 years on this beautiful planet I made countless resolutions to get into shape. My “Whys” were vain and empty reasons like wanting to be thin because I thought I would look and fit in better or because everyone was making resolutions to get healthy in January so why not join in.
Inevitably I failed by the end of the month. My “Why” was not strong enough.
Setting goals and changing long ingrained habits is difficult, if our reason is not one that will push us through difficult moments, I guarantee you that we will quit. Once I saw the reality of what a lifetime of shitty food choices and sitting on my ass was doing to my physical and mental health, I finally had a “why” that meant something.
Maybe it is your mobility. Maybe it is your mental health. Maybe you want to model abetter relationship with your body for your kids.
Everyones reasons for making changes are different, all that matters is that the end result of us achieving our goal will have a tangible impact on the most important aspects of our life. Our health and our people. We need a “Why” that forces us to make a commitment and not a resolution.
A commitment driven by a “Why” that has significant impact on the totality of our lives is what we need to lift our asses out of bed and to the gym at 4:30 am on a cold winter day.
To figure out “How” we have to start talking goals and not resolutions. Goals require getting specific and making a detailed plan. Goals require putting in some work before the actual work. So how do we set goals?
First choose a bigger goal and break it down into 3-4 smaller ones.
Improve my cardio by May so that I can better keep up with my kids.
That’s a big goal and gives us no directives as to what we need to be doing on a daily basis. Broken down the above goal would look like this;
1. Exercise a minimum of 45 minutes 3 times per week.
2. Take the stairs instead of the elvator whenever possible.
3. Write in an accountability journal everyday.
See the difference?
Broken down your goal now has a measurable plan that will help you create habits through consist actions.
Plan out your week. Figure out when you are going to work out and put it in your schedule.
Prep your lunches for the week.
Do whatever you need to do to achieve those smaller goals.
Lastly, don’t forget to check in with your “How”. Find just a few minutes a day to look over these goals and see if you are on track. If you are not, adjust your plan and move forward.
We have to always keep our “Why” our “How” and know our plan at the forefront of our minds.
Why Haven’t I Accomplished this Already?
The odds are that if you are making a new years resolution you likely have been thinking about this change for quite awhile but have procrastinated on taking action.
This needs to be addressed. January is not a magic month, it does not make us more likely to succeed. I already showed you that you are actually far more likely to fail. In all honesty, this step is the hardest part.
Figuring out a “Why” and “How” are a cakewalk compared to this step because this step requires us to really look at ourselves and make some critiques that don’t feel so great in the moment.
When I got to this step about 6 years ago I was having trouble going up a flight of stairs and had difficulty bending over to tie my shoes, I wrote down the following;
“I have been neglectful of my body. I have taken my health and mobility for granted. I make excuses because I would rather be comfortable then do something hard. I have been disrespectful to myself and ultimately my loved ones by not doing enough to take care of myself. These are the reasons why I have not succeeded in the past. These are the reasons why my health has continued to deteriorate despite my many attempts. “
Even reading this now is hard for me. It is a reminder of the person I used to be, a person I did not like very much. It was the most important step I took because without really looking at myself and my previous actions I believe I would not have been able to carve a new path.
When I wrote this and read it back to myself I quickly realized that I did not want to be the person I was describing. I didn’t want to be that person for myself, but I really did not want to be that person for my husband and I certainly did not want to be that example to my niece and nephew.
It was a wake up call. As hard as it was it showed me that the person I wanted to be was the very opposite of the person I had become. Not only did that help me understand why I had failed in the past so I could do better this time, it reinforced my “ Why” and made it more powerful.
Getting into shape takes more then what a lot of people are trying to sell to you this month. Fitness and nutrition plans are useless if you don’t get your head right.
Take a second before you buy that gym membership.
Pause before you empty out your fridge and buy a meal replacement in bulk from your Aunt Shirley’s newest MLM scheme.
I am here to tell you that you will get much further along the path of achieving your movement goals this year if you ditch the resolutions, ignore all the people selling you suspiciously easy, unrealistic, expensive and unsustainable solutions.
Instead take my free advice.
Grab a pen and paper and spend some time with yourself. And think.
You got yourself here and the keys to change are in your head.
Go find them.