How was yesterday for you? Yes, yesterday the 12th January 2019! Did it feel different to the day before? Did it feel strange? How did you feel in yourself? A little flat? A little ‘disconnected’? Lacking motivation? Did you have a sinking feeling in your stomach during the day and couldn’t put your finger on why? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, maybe yesterday was the day that your 2019 New Year’s resolution bit the dust?
According to research by Strava based on analysing 31.5m global activities last January, the 12th January is the date when most of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions! If you had that sinking feeling yesterday, maybe it was brought on by the disappointment or realising that once again, you just can’t do it, you can’t keep it going and it’s going to be another year of being in debt, smoking, not exercising enough, eating, drinking more than you know you should or whatever you resolved to achieve. Maybe that sinking feeling came from accepting that in all likelihood you’ll end 2019 a few pounds heavier or be just as unfit or smoking as many cigarettes as you started the year! I’ll stop here. You get my point.
If that’s hit a nerve, don’t worry, you’re in good company! According to a study by the University of Scranton, only 8% of us achieve the New Year’s resolutions we set for ourselves. That means…well, you can do the maths!
Why do we fail, to the point where many of us no long make New Year’s resolutions? I’m sure there are many reasons including a lack of motivation, setting unrealistic goals, lack of time and generally life getting in the way! All are real and valid of course, but at the end of the day that sinking feeling in the stomach remains, well as least for a few weeks, after which it’s back to the ‘old normal’; the same old you for another year.
Let me offer you my thoughts on why yesterday is likely to have been the beginning of the end of your New Year’s resolution. I believe there are three main reasons.
1. Not writing your Goals down
An obvious one perhaps, but studies and research from as long ago as the 1950s show that writing your goals down increases your chances of achieving them when compared to just thinking about your goals. But it’s also been proven that just writing your goals down is not enough. They have to be SMART goals. I won’t say any more about SMART goals now, I’ll leave that for a future blog, but you can always Google ‘SMART goals’ for now. I’m not suggesting that you stick your written down goals on your wall, or your fridge door, but if you think that might help you, please do it.
2. Not Preparing
To give you self the best chance of being in the 8% of people who achieve their New Year’s resolution, you need to have started planning and preparing for it in say September 2018. As Benjamin Franklin said ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. If your New Year’s resolution was to quit smoking, then you should have been planning and working towards stopping weeks if not months ago. That might have been by cutting down, reorganising your social life so you don’t find yourself in situations where you’re going to be tempted to smoke.
3. Trying to do it on your Own
Sometimes we all need a little help and support in life, especially when we’re trying to achieve something big or new. Sometime we need encouragement, advice or a kick up the backside to keep us on track. That can come from a single person; a gym buddy or a walking, jogging then running partner, a group of friends or a family member who gently reminds us that maybe having that having one more glass of wine won’t help us achieve our goal of losing a stone in weight in 2019.
So, these are what I believe are the three main reasons why year after year we just can’t make it past the 12th January. So, does that mean you should just give up? No, please don’t! Try setting yourself a 9 months resolution for 2019 and take time now to write your goals down, prepare and find the support you need to get you through the times when you know you’re not going to want to go to the gym, or out for that walk or have that cigarette.
You may not have lost a stone by the 1st January 2020, if that was your original 2019 New Year’s resolution, but maybe you’ll lose 10lbs, and right now, you’d take that wouldn’t you?
Good luck in restarting your resolutions, and I hope 2019 brings you the health, happiness and success you desire.