New Year: How are those resolutions?

Happy New Year! The festivities are now over and, for most people a regular work-schedule has resumed; but what of those New Years’ resolutions?

If you’re now shifting uncomfortably having already broken resolutions you made, you are by no means alone. According to research from the University of Scranton, while 45% of Americans usually make New Years’ resolutions, only 8% of those are successful in achieving their resolution.

So, if you’re one of the many now in the position where 2013 resolutions are already broken, don’t beat yourself up, instead, take some time to examine why you haven’t followed through and what you could do to have more success next time.

Forbes magazine published the top 8 reasons why you may be unsuccessful with your New Years’ resolutions; the number one reason being that you didn’t plan for it. Recently we spoke about setting SMART goals; New Year’s resolutions need to be treated in the same manner as any other goal setting.  Remember the quote from French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery; ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’.

In fact, most of the reasons listed by Forbes relate to lacking in planning for the achieving of the resolution; for example; not planning for setbacks, forgetting the reasons for the resolution and taking on too much too fast. All of these can be prevented in future by sitting down and preparing a good plan of SMART goals.

Another factor which is important for the success of your resolutions is having a good support network.  This could be anyone you trust to be both supportive and hold you accountable to following through with what you started. You might find it easier if your support person/s can identify with the resolution you are trying to keep; for example; it might be tricky to quit smoking if your friends and family are smoking around you.

new year resolutions

An accountability partner is a proven way to ensure that you stick with what you said you would do. According to the American Society of Training and Development, the chances you will stick to your goal if you have a regular appointment set with an accountability partner are at 95%, compared to 50% for just planning on how to achieve it. So, find an accountability partner and make sure you book specific times to check-in with them.

An interesting (and seemingly counter-intuitive) reason for people failing with their New Years’ resolutions is that they are afraid of success. Sounds strange? According to Psychology Today there are a number of reasons people may fear success, such as; associating the feeling of excitement with a past trauma, associating success with unpleasant feelings such as rivalry, and a general fear of change.

As part of your planning, acknowledge that you may be afraid of success but this is part of the process for you. Remind yourself of what it is you would like to achieve in life and use that fear to fire yourself up!

It’s not too late to get going on goals for 2013, refer to the previous post on SMART goal-setting and how about setting some for February?

Credits: FORBES Magazine, University of Scranton, American Society of Training and Development,  Psychology Today.