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Why You Keep Failing to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

“Why do you even make those stupid resolutions, Jess? Nobody ever finishes New Years Resolutions.”

–nameless co-worker

Ahem… correction! 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolution! That still sounds pathetic, huh?

So, why do I do it? Well, aside from the fact that I get giddy about goal-setting, I do believe that there is an effective method to approaching New Year’s Resolutions… or any long-term goal, really. And that method is, of course… Setting. Up. Habits.

I apologize in advance to you and Samuel L Jackson for how many times I am going to say “New Year’s Resolution”.

I think there are 3 main reasons why people don’t stick with their resolutions. (I’m about to get numbers-y on you for a sec. Sorry in advance to my right brained happlings.)

  1. They set goals without systems or strategies.

  2. They don’t focus on WHY they’re doing it, but rather on the tasks.

  3. They want the result without putting in the work.

Have you written down any resolutions yet? If not, do it now! 365 day goals are awesome… but 359 day goals are JUST as life-altering. Once you have your list, let’s breakdown how to make your goals into habits.

1. What systems/strategies are you taking to reach your goal? A habit is the frequent action we take that eventually shapes the person we become. So if we want to become, say, a fit and energetic person… what action items must we add to our daily/weekly routine to eventually become that person?

Chunk it down! Example goal: I want to lose 25 lbs by Dec 31st.

  • Start a fitness program

  • Clean out my cabinets and fridge of junk

  • Schedule a weekly “meeting” with Whole Foods

  • Meal Prep

My Vision Board

2. Ask yourself: WHY do I want this so bad!? Chances are, there is a specific reason you want to lose weight (for example). Maybe even life-threatening illness level reasons. But, when most people set a goal like losing weight, they immediately start focusing on what they need to cut out, what they’re going to lose, how many calories they can eat. They focus on the details SO MUCH that they forget about the big picture! You are much less likely to quit during a workout if you kept a picture of you at your ideal weight or your 10 year high school reunion invitation in plain sight. Have you never achieved this goal? Attach an emotion to how it will FEEL! Start really imagining what it will feel like when you reunite with friends and are proud of the way you look!

  • Write down your “why”, the thing that sets your soul on fire

  • Add a visual reminder (background of your phone, picture inside your bathroom mirror, or on the dashboard of your card)

Chris Hemsworth… gross

3. Ask yourself: Am I willing to do the work? I think most people would like a six pack (or some kind of ab situation). I mean, who looks at Chris Hemsworth and is like gross, I prefer beer-bellies? The truth is, if getting and maintaining a six-pack were easy, everyone would do it! Realistically it takes lots of hard work and sacrifices in the buffalo wing and chocolate chip cookie department. Is your WHY strong enough to get you through the hard work?

Example goal: I want to make the Olympic Swim Team

Have you researched what it takes?

Are you willing to give up time with friends and family?

Are you willing to wake up at 5am EVERY DAY?

If not, that’s okay! Not every goal we make turns out to be the end-all-be-all to our destiny. But if you don’t get serious about the HABITS that get you to your goals, you’ll never know if that dream is YOUR dream.

For me, creating What’s Happyning is my Olympics Training. I have sacrificed sleep, hobbies, time with friends, television, time with my supportive husband, and countless other pleasures so that I can fulfill my goal of writing a book. In my pursuit, I found out that… It is so freaking worth it for me!

But I only found this out after I followed these 3 steps:

  • I set up systems and strategies. This meant researching and contacting publishers. I was told I needed a more impactful social media presence. I took a class on writing a blog. I set up an outline and calendar for a full year. I produced content CONSISTENTLY, and so on.

  • I do personal development every day to reinforce my “why”. I look at my vision board daily. I re-read messages from friends and strangers alike who have reached out to tell me that reading my blog makes their day! It definitely keeps me going on nights when I am holed up in my room listening to the faint sounds of a movie my husband is watching, that I so desperately wanted to see! But I look over at my vision board and see images that are so much more important to me than Poltergeist, the remake.

  • And after testing it out, I realized that yes – for me, the work is worth it. It takes A LOT of dedication and research and time but I love it! And when I look back after 6 months, I can’t even believe what I’ve done!

I want you to be PROUD of your life. But first you can be proud of one year. You just have to start! Make a resolution. Break it down into action steps. Remind yourself WHY you want it. And show up and do the work.

Cheers to a bright 2016, happlings! Share your resolutions below!

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