“New year, new me.” Yeah, right. Am I right? I know we are only a few days into 2017, but according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50% of the population makes resolutions each New Year and yet most of those resolutions fail within weeks. Some of the most common resolutions include weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management, and debt reduction.
I don’t know about you, but I have heard far more success stories from people who make changes for themselves throughout the other 364 days of the year. Now, I’m no psychologist, but I’m going to take a stab at some obvious reasons your New Year’s resolution(s) will fail:
1. If you were serious about making a change in your life, you wouldn’t wait for a specific date to do so.
Let’s say it’s July and you’ve decided you want to lose ten pounds (I only use weight loss as an example because it seems to be the one I personally hear about most). Are you going to wait until January 1st to up your physical activity and improve your eating habits? Nah. Well, let’s say it is November 20th and you really want to lose ten pounds buuuut the holidays are here and #FOOD.
If you are serious about losing the ten pounds, you will make wiser, more mindful decisions throughout the holidays. You know you don’t need to wait another five weeks to start making a change! You’ll start making subtle changes as soon as you put your mind to it.
2. You are trying to make too many life changes at once.
Okay, so since it’s the New Year and I’m supposed to reinvent myself (because #growth), I’m going to write down ten things I need improve on or change completely and by golly I’m going to the best me I could ever be! Take a chill pill, eager Edgar. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Making legitimate changes in our lives is friggin’ difficult because #oldhabitsdiehard. Try focusing on one or two things you want to change and keep them at the forefront of your mind. If those things work out for you over a couple of months and you make legitimate habitual changes, then start focusing on one or two more things, so on and so forth.
3. Your resolutions/goals aren’t specific enough.
Don’t be like me when I tried out that whole Crossfit thing for a whopping two months and then die. Kidding. But seriously, the coaches there encouraged me to come up with specific goals to help me stay on track, measure my success, and avoid giving up mentally or getting burnt out. However, my two goals were to “be more toned” and “finally be able to do a pull up!”
Well I’m just here to tell ya, that pull up never happened and I was no more “toned” or “defined” than I was after a few months doing barre and yoga (my true fitness loves…#mentalgains). My goals were shallow and weak and they clearly lacked specificity.
Though I do not regret my decision to give up Crossfit for things that don’t make me vomit, piss me off to no end or leave me completely susceptible to injury, I do believe that my mindset should’ve been different. If I wanted to be more toned, I now realize I should have made specific changes in my daily diet (like adding more veggies and lowering my carb intake to fit my goals) and made a point to be in the gym five days a week over the course of twelve weeks in order to see legitimate changes in my physical self.
As for the pull up…HA. I didn’t have a game plan for how I was going to get to that milestone or when, I just knew I wanted it. For all I knew, it was my flimsy arms I had to blame. I had absolutely no idea that you gotta put a little back into it.
**I now know that the quality of coaching in so many gyms is pretty subpar (because my partner has a degree in exercise science, is a pretty fantastic coach/teacher, has some fancy certifications, and is a professional physique athlete…not that I’m bragging or anything). If you are serious about making changes in your life regarding your mental or physical health, I would suggest working with a professional, especially in the beginning stages. They are out there for a reason and can help you achieve your goals safely and effectively and will offer you insight that your self-help books and Instagram “experts” just can’t legitimately provide.
4. The goals you have set for yourself are completely unrealistic.
Now, I do believe that a person can do just about anything they put their mind to, but I also believe people need to be more realistic.
For example, I’d love to take a trip to outer space and look at the world from a satellite perspective, but I understand that my lack of understanding in mathematics and the sciences is absolutely going to hinder my chances of making that dream a reality. Darn. I suppose I’m just going to be stuck down here with the rest of you earthly plebeians (and I’m totally okay with that).
However, I know for a fact that if you have a dream or goal for your life, you can make it happen. I am from a small town in rural Kentucky without a single stoplight, and I have somehow traveled on four continents and I’m about to live on my third at age twenty-four, and I’m just getting started.
5. You don’t have a solid support system or someone to hold you accountable.
One thing I’ve come to terms with is that you really won’t get far in this world on your own. I don’t care how independent and hard working you are, you need help from others. Whether it be your family, friends, your boss, coach, or teacher/professor, you have to have someone to teach you, understand and accept you, and keep your ass in line when you start veering off.
If you are trying to give up smoking (as you damn well should if you’re a smoker because there are literally NO health benefits and you’re slowly contributing to all of our deaths), the people around you need to accept the fact that you’re trying to better yourself and they need to be there to reach over and yank that filth out of your mouth when you have a weak moment.
If instead you surround yourself with friends that also smoke and they say things like, “Oh, come on, don’t make me go outside to smoke alone,” or “One cigarette isn’t going to kill you…” then you need to take a break from that person (they are a super shitty “friend” for holding you back from your successes at any rate). And try not to get pissy with the people that are holding you accountable, no matter how bad you are feening. They’re just trying to help you better yourself.
Now, to wrap all of this up, I want to be sure you know that I absolutely believe you can achieve your goals and resolutions. I am a huge advocate for self-improvement, self-help, and inspirational Instagrammers. However, I think being aware of the battles you will unknowingly face will help you be more aware and focused, inevitably helping you on your journey ahead.
We all fall short, we all get tripped up, but my hope is that with a solid mindset, you will create the changes and habits necessary to continue improving thyself!
Cheers to a New Year, and an improved you.
The Humble Lion
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Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.