Why Resolutions Don’t Work – Setting Goals Does!

Happy New Year to all of the Amazing over 40 Community! 

Many of us are reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the upcoming year.  For some, this includes making New Year’s Resolutions – ranging from losing weight, to spending more quality time with our spouses/family to actually using that gym membership that we’ve paid monthly dues for over the past year. 

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but I need to be honest with you. New Year’s resolutions don’t work. According to recent data, less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are actually achieved. Pretty depressing, right? But good news - setting goals does work!! It’s all about changing behavior!

Let me explain. 

When we make a New Year’s resolution, we are trying to instate new habits or change existing ones. Habits develop over weeks, months and years – that is, definitely not overnight! So why think that by drawing a line in the sand will change a habit over a day or two?

The key to success in achieving goals is by changing behavior – a very small amount at a time. These daily choices are much smaller pieces for your mind to grasp and incorporate into your daily life making them easier to accomplish.

For example, if you’re walking 10-15 minutes a day – rather than proclaiming that you’ll go to the gym 3 times a week (which some of us like and some don’t), simply add 10-15 minutes to each walk making it 20-30 minutes. Then, add hills or a faster pace over the following weeks. You’re changing your behavior by taking small action steps to an already existing habit.

 

Whatever these your New Year’s goals will be –there’s one key that determines whether you’ll be successful in keeping and ACHIEVING your new-set goals. You want to know what it is?  

It’s the CHOICES we make

Yes, these everyday seemingly small choices we make – such as going to Starbuck’s for a mocha latte rather than going to the gym – accumulate to create the level of success, happiness and well-being in our lives. 

Recently, I was fortunate enough to meet Darren Hardy, the previous publisher of SUCCESS Magazine and best-selling author of “The Compound Effect”, one of my favorite books! He added some further wisdom to achieving your new set goals. 

The truth about achieving our goals, changing our habits and making healthy choices is that it can be:

  • Mundane

  • Unexciting

  • Unsexy

  • And Laborious!

That is why it can seem difficult to reach our goals. We live in an immediate gratification/ADHD world where we expect to see results within milli-seconds and the media doesn’t help in this regard – alluring us to the weakest parts of our nature. That’s why making small steps toward a larger goal works better than trying to change a habit that has been engrained in your mind.

1)  Stop looking for quick fix for happiness, success and wealth. These habits have formed over time – with time they can be changed.

2)  Success is earned one day at a time, one decision at a time (choosing the apple versus the donut), one action at a time (going for a 20- 30 minute walk versus 10-15) and one meeting at a time (being present and mindful with what you’re doing).

3)  We cannot own success – we can only rent it and the rent is due every day! 

I love this last one. The rent is due every day. So as you work towards your New Year’s goals be aware of the little choices you make every day. These choices may appear small and seemingly insignificant, but moment to moment choices add up to BIG results.

Please share some of the small shifts in choices that you are making to achieve your goal!