Here’s Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Fail (And What to Do Instead)
We’ve all been there. You set your New Year’s resolutions anticipating a happy and successful year. Then a few weeks later, you aren’t where you thought you would be and you begin to lose motivation. Unfortunately, this is typical of most of our resolutions and goals.
In fact, a 2007 University of Bristol study of 3,000 people found that 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail.1
Why is this the case?
The problem with most resolutions and goals is that they are uninspiring, overambitious, and lack a sense of vision. We are too eager to look at the things we are not versus the things that we are, and so we pick ourselves apart. We say, “I have to do this better,” and “I’m going to do that better,” and it becomes a negative practice that doesn’t feel inspiring and exciting.
Try this when setting your goals instead…
We tend to think of goals as task-oriented or object-oriented improvements—for example, losing 15 pounds or buying a new house. But even if we reach those goals, we may not feel any different. So to switch things around, we need to go for the feeling that we are looking for, not just the task or object. This is the secret to having inspiring and exciting goals with vision.
Once we have the feeling we want, we can then attach it to different areas of our lives. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds,” for example, wouldn’t it be more inspirational to say, “I want to feel alive and vibrant and healthy in my body.” Now instead of intense cardio at the gym, you may take up a dancing class or go hiking to feel those feelings, and the weight loss becomes a byproduct of achieving that feeling. We still want to set those points that we want to achieve, but we want to focus on the feelings throughout the process.
Become a goal digger!
I call the feeling-based process of setting goals goal digging because it’s not about the traditional chasing of objects, tasks, or dollar bills. Instead, goal digging is about digging deep inside yourself and creating a life of fulfillment, love, and purpose. It’s about not just reaching a goal, but finding meaning in every step of the journey toward those things you hope to acquire and achieve.
To become a goal digger, you need to accomplish the feeling. There are 5 easy and inspirational steps I go through with my clients to help them set their goals in an inspirational, connective, and intuitive way.
1. Set a theme word
The first step for setting your goal is to choose a feeling-based word to help take you in the direction that you want. After that, there will be all sorts of subcategories that you can apply to it. If we choose the feeling of abundance, for example, it doesn’t have to be about just money. It could be an abundance of love, a family abundance, an abundance of nature, or whatever.
To get started with choosing your theme word, follow these exercises:
- First, ask yourself what feeling you want more of in your life. It could be abundance, joy, love, peace, success, growth, balance, connection, passion, courage, resilience, or any other feeling-based word. Narrow it down to 3 feelings you want more of.
- Write down the negative feelings you have a lot of. Then, write the positive opposite to what you came up with. That is the feeling you are truly seeking. If you find that the same positive words appear that you came up with in the previous exercise, you’re on the right track.
- Next, narrow it all down to the one word that resonates with you the most. Use your intuition and listen to your inner-voice! You have to be connected to the word or it’s not going to give you the same outcome.
Once you have chosen your word, you can now use it to ask questions and guide your decisions. For example, if you chose the word balance, you can ask, “How can I bring balance into my home? Into my workplace? Or into loving what I do more?”
2. Set a theme quote
After you have your theme word, the next step is to come up with a theme quote for the year. This step will take some searching and some meditation. Take your time and find a quote that fits your theme word.
Sometimes you can feel a little bit off-track. You can feel overwhelmed. You could be wondering how you’re going to accomplish this feeling. And so a quote is a really good way to bring you back to your word and to what you want to feel and achieve throughout the year. It’s another way to be inspirational.
Have your quote somewhere where you can see it. Then when things get tough, you can remind yourself why you’re doing it. You’ll remember that this is what you are working towards and you can do it.
3. Reframe your faulty core belief blocks
The core perceptions we hold onto are developed in the first 5 to 7 years of life. Then we test our core perceptions in our teen years. If we feel that the core perception is true, it becomes anchored and that’s how we wind up living as adults. So when we go forward to set a goal, those anchored perceptions may be sabotaging us.
To get out of an anchored perception that is holding us back, we need to move to a positive belief about that perception. We can’t change the event that led to a core perception, but we can change the meaning and our response to it. We can do this by identifying the negative self-talk and changing it to a positive.
It can be helpful to talk to a friend and ask them what kind of negative things they hear you say about yourself all the time. Or you can sit down and journal for 5 minutes and write down every thought that comes to you. Then, look at the negative things that you are constantly telling yourself. Once you have identified your negative self-talk, you can go back and say, “How can I think about this in a positive way?”
The next step is to anchor that new belief. You can do this through positive affirmations that you say to yourself every day. This strengthens the new thought in the brain until it becomes a subconscious belief. I also use the ZYTO EVOX with my clients. This technology helps your brain make those connections much quicker so you can start moving in the right direction faster.
4. Create a vision board
Similar to most goals, vision boards often don’t work because they aren’t connected to a feeling. Instead of just things, your vision board should bring you back to the feeling you’re trying to achieve. It should also encompass all areas of your life in relation to the theme word you chose. So if your feeling word is “love,” you may find images related to loving your body, bringing more love into your relationships, and so on.
Pictures carry many words behind them, and that’s why it’s very impactful to create your vision board in this way.
5. Check in with yourself weekly
The last step to cash in on your goals is to set up a weekly self check-in. There are two options here for success: you need to either hold yourself accountable or invest in a coach that will help you through this process. Having a coach is great because they can hold you accountable, help shine a light on your faulty beliefs so you can shift them, and also inspire you and cheer you on throughout the process.
Whatever way you decide to go, you need to book yourself in at a certain time each week. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Use this as self-reflection time. Review your theme word, your quote, your vision board, and your action steps. Then, set 2 or 3 action steps for next week that will help you accomplish your feeling.
As an example, if your word is “balance,” create action steps that will help you achieve balance this week. Maybe that is exercising 3 times and spending at least two evenings with your family. This will help you have a successful week and bring you more of what you want to feel in your life.
Strap yourself in, set your intentions, and make 2019 an amazing year!
About Amara Prince
Amara Prince is the owner of Principality Life Coaching and co-owner of Reflections Counseling and Coaching Center. As a perception reframing therapist and Certified Life Coach, Amara helps her clients shift into a life of well-being, self-belief, and empowerment. To learn more, visit her website at amaraprince.com.
1. “New Year’s Resolution Project.” Richard Wiseman. Richardwiseman.com.