By Dr. Chandni Tugnait
New Delhi, Dec 28: As we approach the end of the year, we may feel more aware or confused, more focused or distracted, more poised or ruffled, more driven or more settled, more ambitious or content – all of this is fine. Whatever our mood, we are preoccupied with working out a list of new year resolutions and how to keep them this time.
So, despite our best intentions, why is it so difficult to stick to resolutions? It doesn’t matter if the resolution is to start a new habit or to give up an addiction; it all comes down to consistency and dedication.
Most people blame their failure to fulfill resolutions on a lack of time, resources, or motivation, or a loss of zeal after starting. Only about 16 percent of people are able to follow their resolutions, according to research. The majority give up within one to six weeks of starting, and many of these resolutions are repeated year after year.
There are many reasons why most New Year resolutions don’t stick. The main question is: What can be done about this?
Let’s take a closer look at the 6 main reasons:
Setting unrealistic resolutions
A resolution is about what you would like to do rather than what you ‘should’ do. People either establish excessively difficult objectives that quickly become unreachable, or they set relatively easy goals that they quickly become bored with. It’s critical to review your resolutions to see if they’re achievable. Are they quantifiable? Are they constrained by time? Are they specific in nature? Are they in line with your goals? Is it possible to break them down into smaller chunks? Is it possible to achieve them within the time frame you’ve set? Remember that in order to keep a resolve, you must change your behaviour, so make sure your goals are reasonable.
Lack of accountability
Working with a coach, mentor, or accountability partner guarantees that the proper energy and drive are present to help you be more, accomplish more, and have more. Because success is a science, we can be sure that if we follow the steps, we will achieve our goals. Avoid people who sap your energy when choosing an accountability partner, and instead work with people that elevate and encourage you, especially when you’re feeling down.
A weekly or fortnightly review allows you to keep track of your progress and turn excuses into opportunities. What gets measured gets done, and what gets done can be improved and made a habit with the help of a good tracking system. Many of the apparent barriers are based on assumptions, inferences, judgments, overthinking, and previous points of reference. A track record of accomplishments aids in the development of resolution consistency.
Lack of planning
Great planning is always required for a good implementation. It is more realistic if you plan the action steps around the resolution, break them down into smaller pieces, and schedule them on the calendar. Weekly objectives and plans that are bite-sized create a sense of accomplishment rather than “Oh, I have an entire year to myself, I can always re-start next month when I have more time.” Planning also ensures that all necessary adjustments are sketched out ahead of time, along with an understanding of potential challenges. This boosts your chances of success, especially when it comes to long-term goals.
Don’t allow your past failures dictate your future. After you’ve learned from your failures, it’s time to get to work. Every tiny victory should be celebrated because it motivates you to work harder for the larger ones. Being self-critical or doubtful doesn’t help since it focuses all of your attention and energy on “why I can’t do this?” As you improve, practice thankfulness, compassion, and love for yourself, and don’t let a minor setback or disappointment turn into a permanent failure. Remember that progress is preferable to perfection, and that if you believe in yourself, you can achieve a lot with proper planning, execution, learning, seeking help, and appropriate coaching. Continue on; you are not alone!
A majority of people fail to achieve their objectives because their ‘why’ is unclear. The ‘why’ is what motivates people to take action and achieve goals. You may know what you want, but you won’t be able to figure out how to get it unless you know why you want it. So, why are you making these resolutions? What motivates you to achieve these objectives? What motivates you to do what you do? What emotional connection does your ‘why’ have? All excuses go away when the purpose is strong, and one naturally switches from a fixed attitude to a growing mindset.
It is important to be mindful, take responsibility, stay committed and direct all focus on the alignment of energy, mindset and action in order to stick to one’s new year resolutions. Start with a picture of your future self in your mind; make the image big and bright, feel it deeply and hold onto it as a daily reminder. Don’t be too hard or too easy on self and most importantly, enjoy the process of change and transformation. Remember, winners and losers have the same goals; it is what one does to fill the ‘gap’ in between that makes all the difference.
(Dr. Chandni Tugnait, a Psychotherapist, Life & Business Coach, & Founder-Director of Gateway of Healing)