According to US News, 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in February. This is a sad statistic. That means most of us only stay committed for a month and a half. According to James Clear, who is the author of Atomic Habits, it takes anywhere from two to eight months to develop a new behavior or habit.
Here are four reasons why we don’t achieve our resolutions. If you’ve failed to meet your goals in the past, the key is to recognize why that happened and to approach things differently in the new decade. If you can push through the upcoming months, you can truly change your life.
We Fail To Pick Realistic Goals
According to Statista, the most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise and eat more healthfully. These are achievable goals, yet so many of us can’t follow through. It’s because we don’t take an approach that’s rooted in reality.
Ask yourself the following question—which goal is more achievable? Losing 100 pounds or cutting refined sugars from your diet? The answer is obvious. If you cut sugar from your diet, you’re more likely to lose weight.
You should also keep in mind that choosing realistic goals or resolutions and achieving them improves our mindset. Even a small victory is still a victory (like 30 days without sugar) and you end up preparing yourself for a much larger one.
We Don’t Plan Properly
Would you take a road trip somewhere you’ve never gone before without looking at a map or GPS? Of course, you wouldn’t. So how can you achieve your resolutions without a plan?
Let’s stick with the losing 100 pounds analogy. What steps can you take to ensure it happens? Are you cutting specific foods from your diet? Did you join a gym or studio? What about hiring a personal trainer? There are lots of things you can do to lose weight, but you need to decide what will realistically work for your lifestyle before you do anything else. Make your plan as specific as possible and then follow through. Don’t forget to write it down.
We Don’t Make It A Habit
Everything in life is the result of a habit, according to Clear. If your resolution is to stop a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit to serve the same purpose. So let’s say, for example, you find yourself hungry at 3:00 every day. That daily donut won’t help you lose weight. But, swapping it out for a banana and a handful of almonds instead will satisfy both your hunger and sweet tooth.
You should also intentionally avoid things that will trigger bad behavior. Instead of walking past the donut shop, take a different route. Small changes today will help yield larger results in the long run.
We Don’t Have Support
No one can accomplish anything without help and support. We need a tribe! Support can come in many forms. While paid coaches, trainers and assistants are ideal for a variety of goals, free help is still help. Ask your partner to make breakfast for the kids while you go to a HIIT class every Saturday morning. Or start an accountability group text with a few friends. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for what you need.
We Fail To Track Our Goals
Habits and resolutions take time. So, Clear is a big proponent of tracking your progress. “While you are waiting for the long-term rewards of your efforts to accumulate, you need a reason to stick with it in the short-term,” he says. “You need some immediate feedback that shows you are on the right path.”
Tracking goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Keep it simple and track things such as your daily food, monthly measurements, and weekly weight. Write everything down in an old fashioned notebook or use an app or spreadsheet. If you need a few guidelines, check out Habit Nest, which offers a variety of journals for fitness and nutrition.
Another benefit of goal tracking is to keep you motivated. By having a visual representation of your results from the previous month, you are more likely to stay motivated and keep going.