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According to many studies, 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in February. That means most of us only stay committed for a month and a half. According to James Clear, who is the author of Atomic Habits, it takes anywhere from two to eight months to develop a new behavior or habit.
Here are four reasons why we don’t achieve our resolutions. If you’ve failed to meet your goals in the past, the key is to recognize why that happened and to approach things differently. If you can push through the initial change, you can truly change your life.
We Fail To Pick Realistic Goals
Common New Year’s resolutions include weight loss, more exercise and eating more healthfully. These are achievable goals, yet so many of us can’t follow through. It’s because we don’t take an approach that’s rooted in reality.
Which goal is more achievable? Losing 100 pounds or cutting refined sugars from your diet? The answer is obvious. If you cut sugar from your diet, you’re more likely to lose weight.
You should also keep in mind that choosing realistic goals or resolutions and achieving them improves our mindset. Even a small victory is still a victory. When you arrive at a new level of achievement, not only are you in a better place, but you have reset what normal is for yourself. You end up preparing yourself for another realistic goal or resolution but this time, momentum is on your side.
We Don’t Plan Properly
Would you take a road trip somewhere you’ve never gone before without looking at a map or GPS? Of course, you wouldn’t. So how can you achieve your resolutions without a plan?
Let’s stick with the losing 100 pounds analogy. What steps can you take to ensure it happens? Are you cutting specific foods from your diet? Did you join a gym or studio? What about hiring a personal trainer? There are lots of things you can do to lose weight, but you need to decide what will realistically work for your lifestyle before you do anything else. Make your plan as SMART and then follow through.
We Don’t Make It A Habit
Everything in life is the result of a habit. If your resolution is to stop a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit to serve the same purpose. So let’s say, for example, you find yourself hungry at 3:00 every day. That daily donut won’t help you lose weight. But, swapping it out for a banana and a handful of almonds instead will satisfy both your hunger and sweet tooth.
You should also intentionally avoid things that will trigger bad behavior. Instead of walking past the donut shop, take a different route. Small changes today can yield larger results in the long run.
We Don’t Have Support
No one can accomplish anything without help and support. We need a tribe! Support can come in many forms. While paid coaches, trainers and assistants are ideal for a variety of goals, free help is still help. Ask your partner to make breakfast for the kids while you go to a HIIT class every Saturday morning. Or start an accountability group text with a few friends. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for what you need.
We Fail To Track Our Goals
Habits and resolutions take time. Tracking goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Keep it simple and track things such as your daily food, monthly measurements, and weekly weight. Write everything down in an old fashioned notebook or use an app or spreadsheet. If you need a few guidelines, check out Freeform Fitness, which offers a variety of free resources on fitness and nutrition as well as free consultations.
Another benefit of goal tracking is to keep you motivated. By having a visual representation of your results from the previous month, you are more likely to stay motivated and keep going.