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Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

I have seen many people on Instagram posting about how you shouldn’t take resolutions this year. Although I do not completely agree with them, they do have a point. The focus resolutions have taken is wrong. More and more people wish to lose weight every year and end up hurting their body more than anything. Ask yourself why you want to lose a few pounds so badly.

Is it because you want to get closer to the silhouette mediated everywhere on the web or is it for your own health? Do you want to look like the Victoria’s Secret Angels, or do you want to be around your family for as long as you can? Do you want to nourish your body a little better and see if maybe you’ll lose a few pounds in the process, or do you only want to try the latest detox diet you have read in the magazines? Have you accepted that your weight may naturally fall in a higher range and that can be completely healthy? All these are questions you should ask yourself before drafting your New Year’s resolutions. I will share with you a few tips to help you to actually achieve your goals. But before that, I truly encourage you to be kind to yourself this year. Instead of focusing on the numbers on your scale, why not try to find what makes your body feel at its best and see where it brings you? And it does not have to be about food.

New Year’s can be a great opportunity to take a fresh start and write down your goals, but only if it is the right time and place for you. If you are not ready for it right now, save it for later. A resolution is defined as « a promise to yourself to do or to not do something » (Cambridge Dictionary). As you will read later on, I encourage you to have a target date. However, you can start at whenever you want. Your resolution will not expire if you postpone it for later, you will simply be more ready to achieve it.

One of the biggest reasons is because you are not setting the right kind of goals. Resolving to “exercise more” or “lose weight” are easy ways to set yourself up for failure. These two examples lack ways to mark progress and are unlikely to keep you motivated as you go on. And most importantly, it may not be what you need or truly want. Instead, try making your goals SMART. What does that mean?

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Specific

Your goal should be clear and specific. Otherwise, your efforts will end up all over the place or you won’t be truly motivated to achieve your goal. When setting your goal, try to answer these five questions:

  • What am I aiming for?
  • Why is it important to me?
  • Who will be involved?
  • Where will it take place?
  • Which resources or limitations are involved?

Measurable

By finding ways to track your progress, you will be able to stay focused, meet your targets by a specific date and get excited as you get closer to achieving that goal. To draft a measurable goal, try to answer these three questions:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know I have achieved my goal?

Achievable

Overall, your goal needs to be realistic and attainable. You might aim for something that gets you out of your comfort zone, but it must be within your limits. To become a better version of yourself, you don’t have to aim for the impossible. An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish my goal?
  • How realistic is my goal considering possible constraints (i.e., financial factors)?

*Note that you should set goals that are entirely down to you, not in someone else’s hands. For example, getting a promotion depends on who else applies and ultimately the decision of the recruiter. On the other hand, gaining experience and training is something you have control over.

Relevant

Why does this goal matter to you? Does it really align with what your heart wants? Or is it what society dictates you to do? If your goal is relevant, you should be able to answer “yes” to these questions:

  • Does is seem worthwhile?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Does it match other efforts you might be already doing or needs you have?
  • Are you the right person to reach this goal?
  • Is it applicable in your current socio-economic environment?

Time-bound

Every goal should have a deadline. Having a target date and something to work toward will prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your New Year’s resolution on the long-term. You should give yourself a realistic time frame to be able to accomplish smaller goals that are necessary to achieve your final objective. Some questions a time-bound goal usually answers include:

  • When?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

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