Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work & What To Do Differently

With 2018 looming before us, many people are turning their minds to making the inevitable list of New Year’s resolutions. While every magazine cover and internet article might be proclaiming the merits of committing yourself to hard core goal setting, it is rather telling that though the gyms are packed the first week in January, by the beginning of March its back to the regular crowd. So what happens? Why is it so hard to make and keep good goals? What can we do differently?

Before setting your New Year’s resolutions for this year, it’s time to come up with a strategy. Setting goals that aren’t personal, that aren’t specific, or are just plain intimidating are some of the traps that can impede our success. Happily, these roadblocks are easy enough to avoid by following these three steps.

1. Plan with a purpose. The most important first step to making strategic goals is to plan with a purpose. Take a few moments in a quiet place to dream. What is it you really want to do? Who do you truly want to be? One of the biggest reasons we flounder when trying to be successful in keeping goals is that we are setting goals from a mindset of what someone else expects of us. Keep your goals personal. Discover a purpose that inspires you and start there.

2. Develop a strategic plan. After some reflection, you have discovered your personal purpose and now it’s time to develop a strategic plan. Having a broad, far reaching goal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it must be broken down into smaller, manageable, specific portions to be achievable. Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy said “My short-term goals are obtainable on a daily or monthly basis. I like to make my short term goals something that makes me feel better and sets me up to better prepare for the long-term goals.” A wise move is to plan your goals out a week at a time. A short-term success can keep us energized and motivated for the coming week. Waiting months, or even years, for a goal to pay off can be discouraging.

3. Evaluate and adjust. When your week is finished, it’s time to evaluate. Keeping your overall purpose in mind, and looking at the specifics of your short term goal, how did you do? Your goal may need to be adjusted, and that is perfectly reasonable.

Planning to succeed doesn’t have to be a difficult thing, you just have to have the right strategy. While making your resolutions this year, just remember: keep them personal, make them specific, and evaluate often so that short-term goals can easily make long-term goals achievable.