Making a New Year’s resolution is a tradition that many of us take part in each year.  Most of us want to create new habits like eating better and exercising more or we want to stop with those nasty habits like smoking and biting our nails.  Either way, the New Year seems to hold promise of a clean slate and a fresh start. Did you know that 45% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution but only 8% of us actually achieve it? Kind of a bummer, huh?

Here are the reasons we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment:

·         The goal/resolution is not specific enough – in order to know when we’ve arrived somewhere we need to know where we’re going.  Goals that are generally stated like “In 2015 I want to spend more time with my family” seem nice enough but, how will we know when we’re on the right path?  What does spending more time with my family mean? Does it mean having a family game night once a week or scheduling a date with my spouse on Friday nights?  Choose a goal that fits you and those in your life so you’re most likely to achieve it.

·         The goal/resolution is too large – when we set a goal that is lofty like losing 50 pounds we must work at it for a while before seeing success.  Are we going to wait until we’ve lost all the weight to reward ourselves? Research says that’s a bad idea; we are more successful when we experience small wins and rewards and that these wins help us keep our forward momentum. It’s better to break a larger goal like this down into smaller parts, say 10 pound increments, and create rewards for each step along the way. Maybe you reward yourself with a new workout clothes once you’ve lost 10 pounds and save the new bracelet you want until you’re closer to your final goal.

·         The goal/resolution lacks the “why” factor – often we fail to tie our goals to our values in a real way.  Of course I want to be clutter free but why?  What will it give me that I don’t have now?  That’s the question we fail to answer for ourselves and it’s precisely why we lose our way.  If I state in my goal that I want to get organized in order to create more free time in my schedule that’s much more convincing than telling myself “I just should”.

·         We try to tackle several areas at once – having too many goals in different areas of life at once can sap our energy and focus.  Contrary to popular belief we are not good multi-taskers and do better when we focus on one thing at a time. There’s enough going on in life that we need to keep up with: kids, work, dishes, laundry, etc.  Change is difficult so set yourself up for success! Pick one goal (or a couple of smaller goals in the same life area), master it, and then move on to the next one.

So, go ahead, make those resolutions!  Be sure they’re specific, attainable, tie into something meaningful, and address one life area at a time. See that 2015 is the year that you achieve your New Year’s Resolution! I have posted a goal template to help you out - it's just to the right of this post - happy goal setting and achieving!  



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