Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Your New Year Resolution WorkA new year, a new you; at least, so we’re told. But is that really true? Every year millions of people resolve to do something new, different, or better, but do these New Year’s resolutions really help us change our ways? Or, is it an illusion, making us believe we are changing our ways but not actually furthering our goals.

According to Good Morning America, the top 5 New Year’s resolutions for 2016 are:
1. Enjoy life to the fullest
2. Live a healthier lifestyle
3. Lose weight
4. Spend more time with family and friends
5. Save more, spend less

But when you look at these resolutions, what do you see? Do these seem like achievable goals? Well, trying to answer that will lead you to more questions: What does success mean? How long do I have to achieve these goals? Is there a point where I have “finished” the resolution and no longer need to work on it?

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, why not make goals? I know, it doesn’t sound as glamorous and you won’t have a great answer when people inevitably ask you about your New Year’s resolution, but in the long run are your goals for yourself or for other people? Hopefully the answer is that the goals are for you. So why not make them work for you. Below are 3 tips to successfully making and achieving your goals, for this New Year’s and for every new goal after that!

1. Write your goals down: When you are forced to write your goals down you must first decide what they are – the more specific the better. Try changing a goal that reads “lose weight” to make it more measurable and enable yourself to track your process. Instead of the ambiguous word “weight” why not be specific and aim for losing 10 kg. Also give yourself a timeline. New Year’s resolutions tend not to work because there is no end date. Presumably it’s by the end of the year, but perhaps that’s not always the best goal. Instead aim for a specific date, season, or event. “Lose weight” would be better as “lose 10 kg by August 1st.”

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2. Make it public: No, I don’t mean plaster your goal on a billboard or shout it from the rooftops. Making your goals public will look different for different people. Maybe you are reserved and you don’t tweet your deepest thoughts and fears, so sharing your goals this way would be counterproductive and even intimidating. Instead, for you public might mean sharing with one other person – your best friend, your spouse, your mother. For others this could mean finding a group of people with similar goals to help motivate you. And for still others public might just mean writing your goals on a white board at your desk as a reminder for you and an FYI to others.

3. NEVER STOP TRYING: This may be the simplest sounding tip, but perhaps it’s the most important one. As we work towards our goals we sometimes run into roadblocks or just have bad days. This is natural, normal, and unavoidable. The important thing to remember, even after you have had an off day: never give up. Tomorrow is a new day. One day of not quite hitting your target does not mean you failed. It means you have to accept that life happens and you don’t control everything. Get up tomorrow, take a deep breath, and start fresh.

Goals don’t have to be looming, far off dreams. With a lot of clarity, a little work, and the right support any goal can become a reality. Have you figured out how to be successful on your own but need help pushing your team to achieve their goals? We at Focus believe you can achieve any goal you set your mind to and have created an experience to help you do it. The Alchemist Challenge will help transform your team and push them to overcome obstacles they weren’t even aware of. The New Year isn’t the only time to evaluate yourself and set new goals. Any day can be the first day of the rest of your life.

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Happy New Year, catch you in 2016!

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