Dec 05

Why Your Resolutions Won’t Work This Time Either

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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As of this morning, there are only 27 days until January 1, 2016.  A day when 45% of all Americans and countless more people, worldwide, will set resolutions.  We’ll quit smoking, start exercising, eat less crap, stop arguing, go back to school, and become better parents.


What an amazing day it will be!

Only.  Probably not.


A Nielson survey published in January 2015 showed “staying fit and healthy” as the top resolution last year, coming in at 37%.  That was followed closely by “lose weight” (32%).  If Facebook is any indication, it will be the same for 2016 – just like it always has been.  I can’t go past three posts on my newsfeed without seeing some type of sponsored ad by someone offering a new program that will kick off on January 1st.

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The problem is…while the year starts with the best of intentions, it doesn’t typically go the way we hoped.  One quarter of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up within the first week!


Here’s why:


I.  Resolutions are dreams, goals are plans:  action is where changes occur.

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According to Nielson, the top 5 resolutions are (1) To Lose Weight (2) Getting Organized (3) Spend Less, Save More (4) Enjoy Life to the Fullest and (5) Get Fit & Healthy.


There are numerous problems with these resolutions, not the least of which, is their nebulous language.  They’re not specific.  What does “getting organized” or “enjoying life to the fullest” look like?  What’s involved in “getting fit and healthy”?  What’s the plan to “lose weight” or “spend less”?  How much?  How much less?  How are you going to do those things?  How will you know you’ve “been successful”?


Envisioning a better form or ourselves is fantastic.  Wanting to be, or do, more is admirable.  But you’ve got to first identify exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish.  “I will….” is easy to say.  The fact is, though, that you have not in the past.


Saying you’ll do something does nothing for you – except make you feel like a failure when you don’t do it.  Setting goals gives you a little more concrete plan but still does nothing for you.  Taking action is the only way things change and you will not take action until your reason for doing so is more important than your reason for not.


II.  Mindset Matters Most.


…and, before you will take action that leads to sustainable change, you have to figure out your “why not”.  What’s been holding you back?


Untie your boat


This step requires a lot of introspection and personal awareness.  Many people prefer not to do this.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s easier to jump right in by changing your diet or forcing yourself to exercise.

I promise you:  if your mind isn’t in the right place, you’re wasting your time.  You’re going to end up showing your but…

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I really want to lose weight but…
I know I need to make better choices but…
I need to take my health more seriously but…
I really need to cut back on eating out but…
I know I should track my food but…
But is an excuse.  Your but gets in the way!  Your but is what your story has always been.
To change that story, you need to understand the but and realize you can have either that OR you can have results but not both.


III.  We focus on what we’ll stop doing.  

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I’ll quit smoking.  I’ll stop eating too much, or too much of “x”.  I’ll stop procrastinating.  I’ll stop yelling at the children.  Bad habits don’t just disappear.  In fact, habits are ingrained in our subconscious.  To consciously focus on stopping them, only brings more attention to the negative and exhausts that willpower “muscle” very quickly.


It’s much more productive to focus on what we will do.

Breaking goals into smaller chunks provides steps to make dreams a reality.  You won’t lose 75 pounds in one day; you won’t run a marathon in a week.


You can start exercising 2-3 times a week.

You can start eating more vegetables and protein.

You can get a good running plan and log your first step today – maybe you’ll walk for 1/2 a mile.

You can schedule playdates with your children.

You can shut off the television by 8 pm each evening and spend an hour doing something productive.

See the difference?


IV.  We try to implement everything at once.  

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Many people use the New Year as an opportunity to make large bucket lists or attempt extreme makeovers.  We expect to wake up on January 1st and just “do it”.  We will diet, exercise, quit smoking, quit arguing, quit procrastinating, and win parent of the year.  All at once!!


If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.  But think about it for a moment:  isn’t this what we typically do?  Let me focus on health and fitness.  How many times have you gone on a diet, began exercising like a mad-wo/man, started drinking nothing but water, and forbidden any “not authorized” food into the house.    How long did that last?  It’s exhausting!

What if you just added protein to a few meals this week.

Added vegetables to a few meals next week (while still maintaining the protein).

Added water to the protein and vegetables in a few weeks.

Stuck with one thing at a time for a little while and then added one more thing.

The sad fact is that people don’t want to do this because it seems so boring.  It seems too easy.  That can’t possible work.  But it does!!!!  It works precisely because it’s easy to incorporate these changes.

Even if you only change one thing each month, that’s TWELVE changes over the coming year.


Small steps taken consistently add up to greater travel toward your goals.

1 ping

  1. When you Lose 130 Pounds, More than Your Body Changes -

    […] Why Your Resolutions Won’t Work This Time Either […]

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