Like most of us, you probably made at least a few resolutions as the calendar flipped over from 2019 to 2020. You made plans to accumulate wealth, improve your health, expand your social circles or improve your existing relationships. Maybe your goals were vast and vaguely nebulous. Maybe you put together some very detailed and specific plans. Now that the year is a few weeks old, how are those resolutions going for you?
If you’re like most people, you likely started strong but now you’re starting to feel the urge to slack. Maybe you’ve already made a concession or two. It happens to even the most dedicated and stubborn among us. Here are the reasons why so many of us start to falter on our resolutions so quickly.
Going It Alone
None of us is an island. We all know this. Even so, most of us tend to approach our resolutions all by ourselves. This is particularly true of resolutions involving our health. For example, someone may resolve to quit drinking by attempting to go cold turkey on January 1. That might work for a few days but if you don’t have anybody rooting for you or who you can lean on in your weaker moments, you’ll most likely relapse before the calendar flips its first month’s page.
Instead of trying to improve your health all on your own, find a buddy. If you’re dealing with serious health issues like addiction or a chronic illness, it’s best to enter a drug detox program or find a specialist who deals with your specific illness. Doctors and therapists can help you put together a solid plan for treating your condition as well as follow-ups to make sure you stay on track.
Speaking of plans, while having an overarching end goal is all well and good, you’ll have a greater chance of success if you include some details. Think of it like putting together a road map for your year.
The easiest way to do this, believe it or not, is to start with your end goal and then work your way backward. For example, if you want to save a thousand dollars by the end of the year, figure out how much you will have to set aside each week in order to meet that goal (a little less than twenty bucks, in case you were curious). Smaller goals are easier to achieve and will help you build momentum toward your actual resolution.
It’s one thing to feel like you are (or aren’t) making any progress toward your goals. By having a list of items you can check off or data you can track, however, you take the guess-work out of it. It’s not about how you feel, it’s about measurable progress.
For example, let’s say that you want to lose 50 pounds of body weight or shrink your waistline by a few inches by the end of the year. Many of the fad diets will tell you that you should avoid your scale or your measuring tape. We think you should do the exact opposite. Weigh and/or measure yourself every week with as much accuracy as possible. Log your numbers in a spreadsheet or an app so that you can literally see the numbers going down over time. This will help you stay the course even when you feel like nothing you’re doing is working.
We all want to end the year better off than we started it. Unfortunately, most of us try to go it alone and only use vague ideas and feelings to guide us along the way. By finding an accountability partner or a professional to help you, setting manageable goals and focusing on your data you’ll have a much better chance of actually achieving the goals you set for yourself. Good luck!