I’m not one to set New Year’s resolutions because I’m a firm believer in starting as soon as possible rather than waiting for “next week” or “the new year.”
That’s not to say I haven’t tried setting them before; I’ve done so twice. I completed one (replacing drinking soda with water), and failed the second (journaling every night).
Since there are new habits I want to cultivate, I figured I’d set them as 2020 resolutions as an experiment to see if I can follow through.
I try to form and replace habits all the time. I know why I fail and why I succeed.
Forbes shared, “Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.”
I want you to be a part of that 8%.
Why you won’t stick to your goals after 30 days
1. You’re overwhelmed
When we’re overwhelmed (and therefore, stressed), we don’t take action. It seems as though our default is to freeze. Rather than tackling our problems, we turn to binge-watching to escape reality.
The main reason people feel overwhelmed with their resolutions is that they assume they have to jump all in right away.
For example, let’s suppose you want to organize your home. You don’t have to clean your entire house in one go — not even in a month. The goal is to have it entirely organized by the end of the year.
You have time. Once you realize that, the overwhelm disappears.
2. You’re impatient
When you set a new year resolution, the goal is to meet that aim by the end of the year, but most people too impatient to wait that long.
People want to reach their goals by the end of January. If that’s your aim, you’ll end up disappointed because you can’t reach a goal that’s supposed to take 365 days in thirty.
When you get discouraged, you quit.
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson
The solution is to be patient and keep your long-term goal in mind. Understand that reaching goals takes time, and you’ll be less likely to give up.
3. You haven’t broken down your goal
To avoid becoming overwhelmed, you need to break down your resolution.
You can’t just say you want to lose fifty pounds in a year. You need to specify how much you’d like to lose every month. This presents your resolution as more attainable.
The beauty of breaking down your broad goal into smaller ones is that this will help you remain patient.
Let’s say your goal for January is to lose five pounds. By the end of the month, you’ll feel encouraged to continue because you see progress. Tracking your course makes you more patient.
How to achieve your 2020 resolutions
One of my new year resolutions is to journal every night. As I said, I’ve tried putting this habit into place before, but it hasn’t worked.
I’m confident I’ll reach my goal by the end of 2020 because of the practices I’m avoiding and following.
1. Figure out why you haven’t reached your goal before
People set similar resolutions every year because they’ve failed to achieve them before. This is why you want to ask yourself why you haven’t reached it — other than being overwhelmed and impatient.
I know now that one reason I haven’t learned to journal every night is because of how I’m journaling. I’ve only tried free-writing, but that bores me. Why would I try to reach a goal I’m not passionate about?
The solution is to use short prompts that only require a few sentences.
Let’s assume your goal last year was to go to the gym three times a week, but you failed to do so. Perhaps the issue is that you dislike going alone.
There’s always a reason why you haven’t reached your aim even though you want to. You have to figure out what it is and find a solution.
2. Why are you trying to achieve this goal?
I never had a genuine reason to journal every night. I only tried because successful people do it.
Not to sound cliché, but you need a why — a real reason to achieve your resolution.
I’m motivated to journal because it will add value to my life. My why for journaling is that I want to learn to acknowledge myself and my work. The reason being that — and Journal of Firsts said it best:
“You can’t recognize progress until you’re mindfully aware it.”
Continuing with the weight resolution, ask yourself why you’re really trying to lose weight. These are the wrong reasons:
- You think you’re ugly
- You received a hate comment saying you have to lose weight
- You’re punishing yourself after eating
These are good reasons:
- You want to treat your body better
- You’re overweight because of bad eating habits, and you want to be healthier
- You want to celebrate what your body is capable of
You need a valid reason to follow through — one that will guide you through the tough days you feel like giving up.
3. Figure out how you’ll build up to your goal
I won’t go from never journaling to journaling every night after one night’s sleep. I need to get to the point where I can do that.
Rather than trying to reach your aim right away, build up to it. You need to break down your goal into actionable steps.
I’ll start journaling twice a week — non-negotiable. Then, I’ll try three times per week and so on until I get to a point where I journal every night by the end of the year.
The New York Post offered advice from Dr. Carly Moores, an associate lecturer at Flinders University and registered nutritionist. They wrote, “‘Start with small changes and continue to build on these or try to tackle one change at a time,’ Moores said. ‘Try to set yourself goals, reflect on your progress towards these, acknowledge that changes can be hard, and results won’t happen overnight … or even in the first two weeks of the new year.”
Let’s assume you’d love to get to the point where you write every day. You don’t have to start writing every day right away. If you write twice a week, add one day, and keep adding from there.
4. Create a game plan
Rather than saying you’ll write three times a week. Write down in your schedule which days you’ll write, what time, and for how long.
If you’re trying to lose weight, pick the days you’ll go to the gym, what time, and for how long. In your calendar, write that in February, you’ll stop drinking soda, and in March, you’ll give up all sugary drinks.
You have to be specific. Your steps should also be non-negotiable.
Let 2020 be the year you accomplish your resolutions. Keep your why in mind, take it one day at a time, and do the damn thing.
This is how you’ll stand out and meet your goal by the end of the year — keywords: by the end of the year.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney