Why your New Year's resolution has already failed

KSNF/KODE — “New year, new me” is a mindset many take on as the renewal of the calendar year comes. To leave the past behind and start anew is enough motivation for people to envision the future they want, plan some goals, and establish new habits to get there.

Statista says these are the most common New Year’s resolutions for 2023:

  • To exercise more
  • To eat healthier
  • To lose weight
  • To save more money
  • To spend more time with family/friends
  • To spend less time on social media
  • To reduce stress on the job
  • To reduce spending on living expenses

However, studies also show that only 9% of people that set resolutions will feel they were successful in keeping them. In fact, Strava, a social media network for athletes, conducted a study that analyzed data from users’ uploaded exercise activities and found that users are likely to ditch their goals by the second or third week in January.

“Quitter’s Day” is a term that was coined by the fitness app and falls on the second Friday of January. But this doesn’t have to be your reality!

This is why New Year’s resolutions fail:

  • Goal-oriented instead of process-oriented
  • All or nothing approach
  • Unrealistic and unattainable
  • Lack of accountability

The easiest way to reach your goals this year is to get incredibly specific about them and plan the process so that it fits within your current lifestyle. For example, a resolution to “get out of debt” or “lose weight” is too generalized, with no clear direction on how that is going to happen.

Plan the process and break it down into attainable benchmarks, so you can track your progress, check-in, and hold yourself accountable.

To start, get rid of the all-or-nothing mentality to avoid burnout. Going to the gym every day and only eating spinach when you haven’t been in a gym or eaten anything green (besides gummy bears and sugar cookies) in years is a total upheaval and change in lifestyle that is probably unrealistic. Instead, you can work on a few small habits every day or weekly until they become part of your routines—such as eating two meals of whole foods, going on a walk after dinner, or working out Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Real sustainable change isn’t perfect and takes time. Success is upheld through the longevity of seemingly minor habits. You can do it!

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