What to Do When New Year’s Resolutions Fail

If you’re anything like me, you’re motivated by goals. New Year is ALL about goals – but what about when New Year’s resolutions fail?

Every year I set myself a list of goals that I think are achievable – from losing weight to earning more money to decluttering my house.

I’m not reaching for the stars – ok, maybe I am with the weight loss thing.

But what I rarely factor in is the addition of real life getting in the way. Curveballs.

New Years Resolutions

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How I Feel When My New Year’s Resolutions Have Failed

Deflated.

Defeated.

Like a failure.

Sad Woman

Going back to the weight loss goal. For the past 20 years I’ve had some kind of variation of losing weight before every event I can remember. Birthdays, Christmas, Weddings, New Year.

Have I ever achieved it?

No. My New Year’s resolution failed each time.

Why? Hmm, not sure. I suppose, deep down, my motivation has never been strong enough.

And then life gets in the way. Health changes, anxiety, family issues. Stuff.

But nonetheless, I’m left feeling like a failure.

Keeping resolutions is hard.

But I never learn – and set the same goal again each time. I’m tormenting myself with setting myself goals that I’ve never been able to achieve before. I’m already doubting myself.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Why do we make new year’s resolutions that fail?

It’s different for everyone but for me, my goals have always been too ‘big’. And by that, I mean ‘vague’ and without a clear plan to achieve them.

I’ve set myself goals to lose 10kgs or to earn $5k per year more.

But sometimes, I haven’t put enough thought into what I need to do to get there.

Rather than treat my resolutions like an ongoing project, broken down in smaller objectives and measurable successes, I’ve basically just set the goal and ‘hoped for the best’.

Not every time – but many times.

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2018 was a bit different

In 2018 I changed things up in two ways.

Instead of setting myself a goal, or a list of goals, I decided upon a ‘word’ for the year to set the theme and to keep some consistency in my life.

That word was SIMPLE. You can read more about my word for 2018 here.

My life was starting to feel too hectic, I was doing too much and felt myself floundering at times.

So for my family, my work and myself, I have tried to keep things simple this year.

To do less, to say Yes to less and to always try and find the easier and simpler path to get things done.

I’ll write more about this towards the end of the year – if I feel like setting this word worked for me.

Secondly, I decided that rather than try and take on many new goals and intentions in 2018, I would let go of stuff.

 

Here is my life of the 18 things I let go of in 2018. There are some great New Years resolution tips in this list.

My decluttering hero, Marie Kondo, even shared this post with her followers!

You can grab Marie’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” here in Australia, here in the US and here in the UK.

This list supported my theme of keeping things simple and I often went back to this list throughout the year to check in – to see if I was still on track.

In many ways, I was.

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How to make New Year’s Resolutions that you WILL achieve

So if you’re starting to think of New Years Resolution ideas for yourself, stop and think for a moment:

Why do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

Are the goals you’re setting really what you want and are they achievable?

If they are big or vague goals, can you spend some time breaking them down and setting mini goals that are more manageable? Can you treat these resolutions like projects and manage them as such?

Is your New Year’s Resolution list too long? Are you setting yourself up to fail?

The best New Year’s resolutions are the ones that will enhance your life in some way but they don’t need to be utterly life-changing.

And January doesn’t own life-changing events. You can decide what you want for yourself at any time in your life – in your year.

So whether you pick a ‘word’ for the year, one or many goals, I hope my experience of how to stick to your new year resolution helps.

Do you have any tips on how to stick to New Year Resolutions or how to keep resolutions you make throughout the year?

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2 Comments

  1. / 7:51 pm

    I haven’t really made new year’s resolutions in the past, but this makes me think of a workshop I did at the start of 2018 where we had to construct a four part “purpose statement”, identifying who we are across our different roles and contexts. So the parts are: who you are, what you do, how you’ll do that, and what you hope the outcome will be. So for example, a teacher might have, “I am a teacher/who seeks to empower my students/by creating a safe environment to learn and grow/so that they can meet their potential” Then from time to time, you can check in and see if your life is still aligned to that purpose. It’s more of a big picture thing, not so much a specific, actionable goal like resolutions are, but I found that a really interesting way of thinking about personal direction and identity, and I guess from there you would want to have some goals to help transform your purpose statement from theory to reality. Anyway, this post made me think about it again!
    I think you’re so right though when making resolutions it’s so important to have clarity of what exactly you’re trying to achieve, and the questions you’ve listed are great ones to think through. :-)

    • Mim
      Author
      / 11:20 am

      Oh that sounds like an amazing exercise! Yes, you’re so right – vague goals don’t lead to anything x

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