It's that time of year again - New Year's Day - and the atmosphere is fresh with hope and possibility. Many will make New Year's resolutions out of habit and obligation and sadly, many of those resolutions will fail. However, that does not have to be your narrative. If you can confront the five reasons that most people's resolutions fail and implement the following strategies to make your resolutions rock solid, then your 2018 resolutions will be unstoppable.
Reason #1: Your resolutions are fear-based.
Many people create new intentions and goals because they are afraid of what might happen if they do not make a change.
"If I don't ________, then ________ will happen."
This approach to developing new habits and behaviors - which anticipates negative consequences rather than positive shifts - is sure to sink any resolution you may come up with. Any time we develop an idea that is rooted in fear, we are certain to manifest fear in the way we go about making that idea a tangible reality.
For example, say your goal is to pick a new hobby and incorporate more enjoyment into your life, but your motivation is that you are afraid that without a new hobby, you will be uninteresting, then that critical idea that you aren't interesting will dominate every thought or behavior involved in choosing a new hobby.
Success Tip #1:
Instead of creating resolutions based in fear, try to come up with a resolution that represents your conscious values (values you choose because of how they empower and expand you) and draw you into more of what you want to experience in 2018 (i.e. creativity, healthiness, spiritual growth, kindness, adventure, honesty, integrity, etc.)
Reason #2: Your vision is isolated.
If you are someone who likes to keep your goals to yourself to protect yourself from possible embarrassment if you don't do exactly what you say you will, then this one might be for you. If a goal you are setting carries any shame with it, then you may be less likely to involve others in your process. Finances, health/wellness, and character building are all areas that can sometimes be accompanied by shame.
"But what will they think of me if they know about _______?"
This inner dialogue too often keeps us from creating healthy interdependence with others who can encourage us, cheer us on, and help us refine our vision. Inviting others into our growth not only builds in accountability, but it also provides us with a tribe of people who can reflect back our self-worth and remind us of our best qualities when we can't see them for ourselves.
Success Tip #2:
Pick three people whom you can confide in and share your 2018 resolutions with and update along the way. Make sure these people are ones who believe in you and your vision and can help erode shame and self-doubt by acknowledging your intentions, validating your fears, and providing examples that counter your fear and inspire rather than shame you.
Reason #3: You are disconnected from your "why."
If you are not clear about why you are doing something, then you are highly likely to fail because your goal will lack power and purpose. Getting clear about why you are setting out to do what you desire to do will provide excitement, momentum, and direction and will anchor you if ever you feel like giving up.
Without getting connected to your "why" and tethering yourself to your purpose, it will be difficult to commit to the baby steps necessary to make your goal come to life.
Perhaps you have a surface level "why," but aren't connected to your deepest "why." As you uncover more layers of why you want to do something and what benefits it will provide you, your commitment to completing your goal will grow exponentially.
Success Tip #3:
Write down your resolution and underneath it, write the "why" that you know. Then, underneath that, write another layer of "why" until you get to your very deepest "why."
Example: Say my resolution is "I want to save 20% of my income this year."
But why? I want to have money tucked away for emergencies.
But why? I want to feel prepared and eliminate worry from my life.
But why? I want to feel more stable and secure on my own and not have to rely on others to bail me out.
But why? I want to prove to myself that I can take care of my own needs.
But why? I want to become the responsible person I know I can be and respond, rather than react, to the world around me.
Reason #4: Your resolution is actually someone else's resolution.
Maybe someone told you what to think or what you should be doing instead of what you are currently doing, and that stirred up an insecurity that you want to shake in the new year. Maybe someone made a comment about your weight or your diet or that you are too sarcastic or that you never show up on time and you want to change it so you can impress them or gain their approval.
Maybe you are hustling for worthiness and think that by changing your habits to accommodate someone else's need, you will become more valuable in their eyes.
If your new year's goals are for someone else and not something you want to do of your own accord, then it is unlikely that you will earnestly want to follow through to complete your resolution.
Success Tip #4:
Try choosing a resolution that achieves a similar long-term goal (i.e. your deepest why) through a means that is more beneficial and enjoyable to you. For example, if someone close to you pressured you into going to their CrossFit gym with them but you hate it and dread going every time and would rather pursue fitness through yoga, then choose yoga instead. If a long-term goal resonates with you but someone else's method does not, then find a method that works for you and serves you well.
Reason #5: You don't believe achieving your New Year's resolution is actually possible.
One of the biggest barriers to making a change of any kind is your internal monologue of self-doubt and self-criticism. Unproductive thought patterns that hold us back and trick us into thinking we are less capable than we actually are can be a menace when it comes to New Year's resolutions.
When our limiting beliefs take over, it can be so hard to recognize possibility and opportunity when our mind is clouded by the fog of self-doubt.
Confronting limiting beliefs is both an ongoing process and one of the most difficult ones. However, it is not impossible. Confronting longstanding assumptions, interpretations, and beliefs often takes an outside perspective, since limiting beliefs are so ingrained. However, uncovering the damage these beliefs can do and replacing them with empowering beliefs can be monumental in personal growth.
Success Tip #5:
One of the best ways to navigate limiting beliefs is to hire a coach and work through deconstructing these beliefs and replacing them with empowering ones piece by piece. However, another way you can do this on your own is to examine the core "why" behind every thought of "I can't." Try to figure out where that limiting belief came from and then try to identify experiences or interactions that disproves that limiting belief. Write down as many examples as you can that support your growth and then, come up with a new, empowering mantra to return to every time you experience self-doubt.
As a life coach, I encounter individuals all the time who are highly motivated to make BIG changes, but who are looking for specific tools to help them along the way as well as the guidance of a professional. Through a coaching partnership, you can receive the tools necessary to make big decisions and map out your goals while creating strategies that ensure success. You can also uncover what drives your behaviors and habits and confront anything that seems to be an obstacle, both internal and external, while navigating the waters of change with a personalized plan.
While spots are limited, there are still some slots open in Re:Solve - a New Year's coaching package comprised of an Energy Leadership assessment + debrief and 5 personalized strategy sessions with a certified professional coach. This package is currently 50% off and registration is open - with limited availability - until January 31st.
However you go about your resolutions, know that the power rests with you to make 2018 the year that you want it to be. Your resolutions can be realized if you really want them to.
Cheering you on and wishing you all the best in the New Year!