It’s common for people to give up on their New Year resolutions mid-way or even earlier on – it’s reported that only 8% of people achieve their targets. If you’ve had trouble meeting your own expectations, don’t worry, you are not alone. There are ways to aid your success, but firstly, it’s important to understand why so many resolutions fail.
We often perceive resolutions to be a firm rule. But the unpredictable stress and demand of modern lifestyles can be less than encouraging to keep on track. Instead, we can relook at how we set and meet our successes with these unconventional goal-keeping methods.
- Make it unreasonably hard
You usually analyze your time, resources and capabilities to set an objective that’s achievable. However, failing to fulfill your own promises can lead to “goal shame.” This can have a negative effect and you may end up giving up entirely. But what if your goals were impossible? This means, you’re sure to fail and you’re okay with that. By keeping an impossible goal, all you need to do is try as best you can without worrying about the outcome. So, no matter how late or early you start, you have no need to be too hard on yourself and you can continue working towards your goal.
- Make it unreasonably easy
While unrealistic goals free you from finish lines, you can also try the other side of this extreme. Set a goal that’s way too easy to achieve. How does that help? It doesn’t make your goals seem like goals anymore. This means, you save energy pushing yourself to get started. For example, instead of aiming to lose 10kg this year, plan to exercise for only 15 minutes a day. As Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Medical Subspecialties Institute Associate Staff Physician, Dr. Iyaad Hasan points out, “Regular physical activity, even if for 15 minutes a day is much more effective than vigorous, infrequent workouts.”
- Break down your year
Dr. Hasan mentions the old saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, and recommends making your aim more feasible with a little planning and dividing it into chunks. For example, setting a “New Month Resolution” is much easier than one set for a year. One of the simpler ways to go through this is to give your goal a “30-day trial” where you can review your progress at the end of every month, and see how far you have come. By doing this you will be able to assess whether the goal is right for you, whether you need to make a few changes, or do you wish to move on to an entirely new goal.
- Make it a motto
Rather than telling yourself that you need to “recycle more” this year, develop a motto for yourself like “I avoid buying foods packed in plastic.” Instead of a rule, recognize this motto as a part of who you are. Let it become part of your identity and remind yourself about it when the time arises to put that motto in action, e.g., while shopping. By being flexible, you are not only giving yourself room to improve but it also positively affirms your motto whenever you put it into action.
- Involve a professional
Keeping yourself motivated to continue working towards your goal can take a lot of willpower – it may even be a good idea to call in the experts for a little extra help. Whether you wish to learn an instrument or aim to eat healthier, professional help is a wise investment. So, if you’re planning to get fitter, openly talk to your doctor about your plans and book regular check-ups to keep you on track. This way, you not only find the most suitable path to success, but also have an external check on your improvements.
The new year is a time to not only look ahead but also an opportunity to start afresh. But it’s okay to fail or stumble on your goals in the process. And there’s no harm in relooking at your approach at any time. Give yourself a second, third or even fourth chance to restart as you like – it all counts towards achieving your goals.