The Way You Have Been Setting New Year’s Resolutions is All Wrong!

3 Things That You Can Do to Change Your Results

Every year, millions of people vow to pick up a torch and set out on a path like that of an Olympic torch carrier. They valiantly resolve through a New Year’s Resolution to FINALLY make a change — for good this time — but how many people actually follow through?

According to a 2021 YouGov report, 35% of those who set resolutions in 2020 stuck with all of their resolutions, 49% followed through on some of them, and 16% gave up completely on what they set out to accomplish.

The reason so many people fail to accomplish what they have resolved to change is that, in typical fashion, they set out with the mentality — “New Year, New Me.” What’s wrong with the old you?

This brings me to 3 mind-shifts that can help you succeed at your New Year’s Resolution, or any goal you create.

1) Stop Being So Judgmental!

Wow! I know that sounded so “judgy” of me to say, but one of the most basic problems with New Year’s Resolutions or simply our goals to “change” is based in a state of judging. “Out with the old me and in with the new.” There is nothing wrong with YOU, what’s wrong is your approach.

Let’s start with, you are just fine. It’s what you do — no you! If you are dissatisfied with a current state, which is a result of past actions and decisions, that is the object of your dissatisfaction and a driver for your future success.

Define what it is you really want.

“I want to lose 10 lbs. over the next 4 months.”

“I want to carve out time each week start a travel blog by summer.”

“I want to stop procrastinating when it comes to completing small household repairs and get my house in good repair.” (Notice I didn’t say stop procrastinating — too vague).

Don’t beat yourself up that you are overweight, unmotivated, or that you waste time. Instead, focus on what you want to accomplish, making it less about you and more about the results that you want to achieve.

2) Would You Destroy Ancient Rome to Build a Tract Home?

Look at any of the ancient Roman ruins and you will see amazing architectural elements that have withstood time. I’m not really comparing you to an ancient relic — okay, I am, but not in a literal sense.

photo credit: Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolutions are typically approached by thinking that you need to destroy the old you to make way for the new you. Research shows that when we break down our goals into small daily routines, we allow incremental change to add up to big results.

Instead of lofty goals that you plan to lose 50 pounds by going to the gym 5 days a week and sticking to a strict diet, which you know will be next to impossible to stick with, start with new small changes to your daily routine. Your foundation can stay intact. Use this to build on your strengths and experiences to develop new daily habits.

For example, if in the past you started a strict diet and exercise regimen and were thrown off when you woke up late, had a sick kid or a family member invited you to a birthday dinner with nothing on your meal plan. When we don’t make our new routines realistic enough to adapt to change (and the unexpected will ALWAYS happen), then you set yourself for an excuse not to follow through.

Breaking your big goals down into smaller bite size chunks and developing daily routines creates new daily habits for long-lasting change.

For each goal, develop 3 things that you can do daily that will help you move the needle. Look to your foundation for clues. What are your strengths, weaknesses, and past-experiences?

If you are an evening binge eater, it’s likely that you feel deprived from being overly restrictive during the day. A daily routine for you might be to add low-calorie snacks to your meal plan every few hours so that you don’t feel the need to binge at night.

If your big goal is to carve out time to develop a travel blog, you might have a new daily routine of devoting 30 minutes at the beginning or end of each day to research, write, or create. The key is that your daily routines should directly contribute to the cumulative results of your goal achievement. They should be realistic enough that you can actually do them every day.

Don’t worry that they seem too easy to accomplish. Build in an excuse-less set of new routines.

3) Mistakes are the BEST Way to Learn

Learn from what didn’t work well for you in the past or how you got to where you are, with what you want to change. Using our mistakes to build our successful new outcomes is an essential component.

If you have a goal to stop procrastinating on getting small household repairs done, embrace the fact that in the past you have wasted time. Don’t judge and criticize yourself. You are now facing the result of a decision and action (or lack thereof) based on that past decision — you now have that lesson to develop a new routine to change that — and give yourself grace while doing so. It’s okay to have days where you don’t accomplish as much as you’d like to. If you dedicate activities toward your goal every day, you will move the needle!

Your daily routine might be to dedicate no less than 15 minutes each day planning or tackling small projects. 15 minutes doesn’t seem like much, but at the end of the year, you will have 5475 hours logged!

On your first 15 minute daily session, you might develop a punch list of all of the small things that need to be done. On day two, you might prioritize what needs to get done. On day three you could identify if you have the tools or repair items. You don’t need to be repairing something every day; instead, you are focusing on what you want to accomplish by dedicating a specific time toward planning, preparation, and doing.

Re-Design is in Your Control

The New Year most certainly is a motivator — a fresh start. Just remember, a new approach can be the solution to new results. New Year’s Resolutions are all about designing successful outcomes. Designing your goals in a way that you gain traction through the aggregate of your daily routines will help you push past defeating yourself. One such way is to track your progress.

Use a notebook as a journal or a calendar to document the completion of your daily routines (which later become daily habits) each day. Progress is an intrinsic motivator and by simply tracking your progress, you significantly increase your chances of success.

Finally, remember, that control is always at hand. If your day blows up and everything goes haywire, pick up where you left off. Don’t scrap the Parthenon.



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Dr. Jolene Church, SCP, ICF-MCC

Dr. Jolene Church, SCP, ICF-MCC

Dr. Jolene Church (Dr. JoJo) is a best-selling author, life coach, and HR executive who has dedicated her life to inspiring passion, confidence and authenticity