Here we go. It’s another New Year. An annual partition that many people use as a sort of goal marker, or starter pistol. A chance (or perceived opportunity) to get a new start, be reborn, and to reflect on the past 12 months to see how we’ve grown or lost ground.
It’s a tradition, in a sense, and many of us use it to make resolutions. Get a job. Get a better job. Get in shape. Etcetera.
The problem is, these resolutions almost always fail. The success rate is abysmal, and as we’ve discussed in previous posts, there are a lot of reasons for that. But even citing that low success rates tie into the failure itself — it becomes okay to fail. After all, almost everyone does. It’s a loop that feeds into itself.
This is what you’re facing with a New Year’s resolution. But being aware of the pitfalls ahead of time will put you in a better position to overcome them, and increase your chances of success. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply develop better habits, if you know the troubling truth about resolutions before making one, you can strategize ways to avoid having another failed game plan.
So, if you want to take your resolution seriously, here are a few things you need to keep in mind going in.
1. The odds are not in your favor
By now, you probably know that most resolutions fail. It’s a plain and simple fact. There are a lot of factors at play, but it mostly boils down to having unrealistic goals and expectations, some psychological elements, and a lack of discipline. Only around 8% of resolutions end up being successful. Needless to say, the odds are stacked against you.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should enter the fray with a defeatist attitude. People are undisciplined, but you may not be. Be aware that it’s going to be tough, and that nobody will fault you for coming up short. Use that as fuel to propel yourself to the finish line.
2. You’ll want to give up
Getting off track, or giving up completely, is incredibly easy. All it takes is one skipped workout, or one stop through the Taco Bell drive-thru, and you’re whole line of thinking may change. One instance of “well, I’ll make up for it later” can snowball into days and then weeks of getting away from your routine. By that time, you may be right back where you started — and convincing yourself that come New Year’s, you’ll turn it all around.
Don’t fall for it, and don’t give yourself any breaks. You need to be steadfast in your convictions, and stick to your game plan. Nobody is going to hold you accountable — so you need the discipline and resolve to see your resolution through.
3. It’s not a small change, it’s a total overhaul
Going in, you might think that your resolution to drop some serious poundage is going to be as simple as going to bed a little earlier, or abstaining from drinking soda. It’s not — it’s a serious, big-time change, and will probably require some huge changes. Going to the gym will become less of a chore, and more of a ritual. Eating healthy ceases being a meal-to-meal battle, and becomes habit. After a few months, if you’re taking the process seriously, your life may not even resemble what it was a year prior. And that’s the point. Don’t take this lightly — it’s a big change, and it won’t be easy.
4. Not everyone will be rooting for you
A lot of people experience something strange once they start seeing results: Their social circle, including both family and friends, can turn on them. It’s pretty common, and the internet is riddled with advice columns and articles discussing ways to handle the change. Typically, it stems from jealousy — seeing you stick to and reach your goals can be difficult for those close to you, and they may feel that you’re flaunting. So be aware of that, and know that you may experience some jealousy.
Just be sure that you respond to it without making things worse. And don’t let the negativity stop you from pushing forward.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger