Screw Your New Year’s Resolutions

N ew Year’s is rich with exciting symbolism. We treat it as a time to reflect, mourn our failures, and to celebrate our successes. Most of all, we treat it as a chance to “make next year better.”
In theory, this is great: Who doesn’t want to be their best self?
In reality, New Year’s resolutions are a lot of pressure, and we often go about them all wrong. This year, forget your resolutions — but don’t forgo making positive changes in your life. Here’s how to craft goals that keep chugging past January.

Why resolutions don’t work

Experts say that 50 to 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. More than just a lack of willpower is responsible for the high failure rate:

  •  Most resolutions are too vague — “Lose weight” doesn’t specify how much by when…or how?
  • Most resolutions are too lofty — It’s great that you want to get out of debt, but tackling $50,000 of debt on a $30k salary isn’t a one-year goal.
  •  Most resolutions are made for the wrong reasons — Because you feel you have to, not because you want to.
  •  Most resolutions are made without a plan — A goal is just a dream until you know how you’ll achieve it.
    How to achieve your goals for real (any time of year).

If the spirit of change still has you charged up, don’t fret — now is as good a time as any to find your purpose or make a positive change. There are a few key steps you can take to skyrocket your chances of success.

Most resolutions are made for the wrong reasons — Because you feel you have to, not because you want to. Click To Tweet

1. Have clarity

America’s top resolution for 2018 is “be a better person.” That’s a great goal, but you can’t do it if you don’t know what it means. Be specific. Maybe you want to be more understanding towards your employees: Great!

How do you do that? Perhaps you need to reduce stress, breathe for three seconds before reacting, and try to get to know your employees as people. Instead of striving toward an abstract like “niceness,” create small, tangible goals.

2. Be reasonable

What can you reasonably achieve? You may want to get out of debt, but that isn’t a wave-a-magic-wand goal. Perhaps your micro-goal this year is to find a part-time job that gives you $10,000 more to put toward your debt.

Or you can buy a cheaper gym membership and use the extra money towards your most annoying loan. Many small steps lead to your one big goal. Looking for a cure-all will only lead to disappointment.

3. Find your “why”

Doing something just because it’s the thing to do — losing weight, getting a better job — is a surefire way to lose motivation fast.

You know you want to lose weight, but why? You may think you want to look better or be healthier, but that’s too vague. Why do you want those things? Underneath that desire is the longing to have confidence, to have more energy, to be able to keep up with your kids, and other things that directly impact your quality of life. Focus on that overarching “why.” It will keep you motivated during tough times.

4. Choose an accountability partner

Support is crucial for success. It’s easy to tell yourself “I’ll do it next year” or “now isn’t a good time,” but it’s not so easy to do that if you have someone checking in to celebrate your successes and help you plan.

Whose determination, focus, listening skills, or friendship inspires you? Ask them to help keep you on track.

Whose determination, focus, listening skills, or friendship inspires you? Ask them to help keep you on track. Click To Tweet

5. Set specific goals

There’s no shame in writing out a game plan (and using it often). Map out each step toward your main goal. Check off each success. This provides a feeling of constant accomplishment to keep you going — and also keeps you from drifting off track.

Did I miss any goal-setting tips? Tell me your secrets to success in the comments.
What’s your goal for 2018? How can you make sure you don’t lose steam?

Marco LeRoc
Marco LeRoc

Marco LeRoc is a three-time author, an international speaker, an accountability partner and the founder of Marco LeRoc & Co.

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