Why New Years Resolutions will not last – 10 Fatal Flaws

The New Year is a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make in our lives. Unfortunately, 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail.

What were your New Year’s Resolutions and will yours last the distance?

Have a look at my list of 10 fatal flaws to see whether yours will be successful this year.

This year my New Year’s Resolution was that I would make an informed decision as to what part alcohol will play in my life in the future. In order to make this decision, I set myself a goal of living 100 days free of alcohol. At the end of 100 days, I will then be in a position to assess the positives and negatives from the preceding 100 days and decide what I want to do.

1. No Planning.

New Years Resolutions are usually made at the last minute with little thought as to what people really want and how they will achieve it. People make statements called resolutions about major change in their lives without any real thought as to how they will achieve these changes. People are more likely to plan a party or even a dinner than their lives!

Tip: Buy a notebook and write your goal down. This way your desire will transform from a mere thought to the beginning of an action plan which can then lead to your desired outcome.

2. Vague resolutions

People resolutions are often vague. If we don’t see the target – how can we possibly hit the target? 38% of New Year’s Resolutions commonly relate to weight. “I want to lose weight” could be as little as 10 grams or as much as 50 kilos. If you lost 10 grams – is your resolution then successful? How much weight, by when and how is it going to be achieved must be a part of the planning process. We must be specific so that we know exactly what our outcome will be and how it will be achieved.

Tip: Specify exactly what you want. Write down what, why, when and how your resolution would be achieved.

3. No emotional connection to the resolution

Emotion is the driving force to our actions. If we simply think of our resolution as another item on our ‘To Do’ list…guess what? It just won’t get done because it’s just something else we need to do in our busy lives with the competing demands that we already have to juggle. We need to specify why we want to achieve our resolution. Our goals will only propel us forward if we can feel why we want to achieve our ultimate outcome

Tip: Write down all the reasons as to why you want to achieve the desired outcome. What will you get out of it? How will that make you feel?

4. No real belief that we will achieve our resolution

Do we really believe that we will achieve our New Years Resolution or do we just say it in the hope that it may happen. Do we believe that we will be fit and healthy or do we really believe that we will always be the ‘fat girl’ (or boy…)?

Tip: Spend 2 minutes every morning visualising your desired outcome so that it becomes entrenched within your belief system as something that will happen because you can see it , feel it, hear it and it will propel you forward to taking action

5. Stating our resolutions in the negative

When we develop our New Year Resolutions they are usually stated in the negative: “I want to quit smoking” or “I want to lose weight” but there is no focus on what we actually want instead. What are we trading cigarettes and overeating for? What do we actually want instead? Do we want energy to play with our kids or be a role model for them? We need to focus on what we want, not what we don’t want. In order to achieve 100 days free of alcohol, I don’t think about myself missing out on the French Champagne that everyone else is drinking at the party, instead I visualise & feel the strength of being able to enjoy good company and good food without the distraction of alcohol.

Tip: Check what you have written as your resolution and make sure you write what you want not what you don’t want. For example, not wanting debt is writing what you don’t want. Instead you want a life full of abundance and financial security. As we visualise our goal we need to be looking forward, not backwards

6. No Accountability

When we make resolutions we are hesitant to tell people in case we fail. Make sure that failure is not an option. When I embarked on my 100 day ‘no alcohol’ challenge this year – I didn’t feel the total certainty that I could do it until I placed it on Facebook and then I knew I had to live up to my word! I had no choice. It was non-negotiable! No matter what – it was going to happen!

Tip: Tell as many people as you can. Place a status on Facebook and Twitter. Be accountable to others as well as yourself.

7. Goals are written as something we are going to do

Our goals need to be written in the present tense as if what we desire is already happening; otherwise they will remain as something that may happen. Our unconscious mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality. If we write a goal as if it’s happening now our body and mind will respond accordingly and we will take action to get it done. For example, a goal written in the present tense such as “…it’s mid-March and I am wearing my brand new Size 10 jeans and I feel young and sexy. My husband is looking so proud to have me as his wife”, is far more compelling than “I am going to be slim”. If we visualise our ultimate outcome, we will want to take action to move in that direction

Tip: Use powerful words such as “I AM” or “I HAVE” not “I will” or “I’m going to”

8. Goals are often not realistic

Our resolutions and our goals need to be achievable. For example, one of my clients wanted to lose 15 kilos in 5 months. Although it is possible to lose 15 kilos in 5 months, it is likely that she wouldn’t have kept it off as the struggle would have been too hard to maintain. She changed her goal so that she could lose 10 kilos in 5 months which was realistic as losing ½ a kilo per week was achievable without any corresponding muscle loss.

Tip: Make your goals realistic but still make them big enough to excite you

9. Goals are often not dated

The last time I put myself on a ‘no alcohol’ challenge – I didn’t place a date for achieving my goal. I thought I would go for as long as it lasted. It lasted 3 ½ weeks. This time I dated it. My goal is very specific – it’s a 100 day ‘no alcohol’ challenge which means that no matter what happens from now till then…no matter what big events are in between that time – my goal will be achieved on Day 101.

Tip: Set a date that you can see, circle the date on your calendar and consistently check every day to make sure that you take some time of every day to focus on whether you are moving towards that date

10. No rewards for achievements along the way

Make sure that you write down your achievements and reward yourself along the way for your focus and good work. When you do fall and we all do, make sure you re-read those achievements and remind yourself of your true strength and what you are really capable of.

Tip: Don’t reward weight loss goals by splurging at a restaurant. Treat yourself with indulgences that are real rewards for your body and mind such as massages, new clothes, personal training sessions or a good book