When Do New Year's Resolutions Fail? Here's How To Stick To Yours No Matter What
2018 is officially within reach, my friends, which means now's the time to secure where you’ll be and what you’ll be wearing when the ball drops on Jan. 1. It’s also the time most of us begin to seriously reflect on the hectic year we’ve endured. 2017 was rough, and it’s hard to believe anyone will come out of it unscathed. A new year offers all of us a clean slate to start over. Unfortunately, as quick as we are to make resolutions, we’re just as quick to break them, so if you’re wondering when new year’s resolutions usually fail, it really depends on the type of goals you set, and how serious you are about making the change.
By now, those of us who even remotely care about new year's resolutions have a plan of action to achieve our goals. It can feel almost exhilarating to have these grandiose ideas of the person we want to become, or the successes we're aiming for, but the problem isn't in the imagination, it's in taking the necessary measures to meet our goals. Once we're faced with the actual work that needs to be done, we're over our resolutions before we can even begin to see them through.
The issue of when — or if — someone's new year's resolutions will fail ultimately depends on a few key factors, such as how realistic they are to come true. According to Dr. Steven Levine, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and founder and CEO of Actify Neurotherapies, resolutions tend to come to a halt during the first few months of the new year. Moreover, Business Insider reports that a whopping 80 percent of new year's resolutions fail by the second week of February. Dr. Levine tells Elite Daily this is because "it can take weeks to months to start to see any benefit," leaving people disheartened and unmotivated.
Though millennials live for the grind, we also live for quick results, and when we don't see progress within a few weeks into the new year, we're prone to jump ship. This year, instead of giving up on your resolutions two weeks into 2018, muddle through the minor setbacks with these six expert tips.
1. Take The Word "Failure" Out Of Your Vocabulary
Personally, I get really excited when I start setting goals for myself. New year's resolution or not, I'm likely to go all in on the commitment. The problem, though, is that having high expectations from the start can be daunting, and the second you start to deviate from your resolution, it's easy to come down hard on yourself.
One of the best things you can do in order to see your new year's resolution through is to have compassion for yourself. Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, tells Elite Daily that, should you relapse on your resolution, "you need to not see it as a complete failure, but as part of the process."
In the words of Aaliyah, dust yourself off and try again.
2. Make A Realistic, Specific Plan Of Action
One of the biggest issues in making and keeping new year's resolutions is that we tend to make a list of broad, and oftentimes overreaching goals that can be difficult to achieve in reality.
Format your resolutions list like you would an essay outline. Stacy Kaiser, Live Happy editor at large and licensed psychotherapist, suggests jotting down what it is you're striving for on a piece of paper, or even on your smartphone, in addition to a list of realistic ways to make it happen.
"Instead of pledging, 'I will lose weight,' try something more like, 'I commit to eating healthy and exercising daily unless it's a special occasion,'" she tells Elite Daily. "Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying for the impossible. Think about what you can realistically accommodate in your schedule, and work from there."
3. Find People Who Will Hold You Accountable, But Still Support You
Now, there's a few pros and cons to this strategy, and I'm going to flesh them all out for you.
On the one hand, clueing in members of your squad can definitely help you stay on track. Kaiser tells Elite Daily it's a good idea to set up some kind of check-in system with your gal pals, or ask if it's cool to give them a call whenever you're struggling to stay on track.
On the other hand, it's really important that you choose people who will lift you up, rather than tear you up over minor setbacks. For example, a few years back, one of my new year's resolutions was to cut down on processed sugars, and it turned out that making that goal fairly public wasn't exactly the smartest decision. The second I picked up a single cookie, someone was calling me out. Though it was somewhat helpful, it was also sort of embarrassing, so you really want to create a core group of friends or loved ones who can help you achieve your goals in a way that you'll respond well to.
4. Document Your Micro Goals
Slow and steady wins the race, right?
When you set out to achieve a larger goal, the best way to tackle it is to set smaller, more attainable goals to get you where you want to be in the long run. Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and author of relationship blog You're Just A Dumbass, tells Elite Daily that documenting micro goals can help you visualize the ways in which "you're contributing to your macro goals," in addition to creating real "behavioral change."
By writing your accomplishments in a journal or blog, you're reinstating the fact that you're making the necessary strides to get to where you ultimately want to be.
5. Begin Each Day With Intention
Sorry if that sounds super hippie, but being more mindful is something I strongly believe all of us can benefit from.
Adulthood is full of distractions and responsibilities that pollute our minds, and can easily divert our attention away from our intention. So rather than grabbing your smartphone off the bedside table first thing in the morning, Jamie Price, co-founder of the mindfulness app Stop, Breathe & Think, says it's more beneficial to block out a few minutes to check in with yourself instead.
"Try not to jump into your emails or social media first thing in the morning, which can take up precious time and mental space," Price tells Elite Daily. "One thing to keep in mind is that the inspiration and motivation to accomplish your intention ebb and flow, so reminding yourself daily of your motivation — the reason behind your resolution — will help you maintain your energy and enthusiasm for keeping up with it."
6. Decide Whether Or Not This Is Something You Actually Want To Achieve
A lot of times, we abandon our new year's resolutions because, even though the change sounds good in theory, in reality, it isn't a goal we actually want to achieve, or one that we feel particularly motivated to work toward.
For example, fitness goals are one of the most popular new year's resolutions people make, especially after the holidays. Getting more active and taking better care of our bodies is an excellent goal on paper, but it does take a fair amount of effort to put it into action. When times get tough two weeks in, it's easy to call it quits instead of pushing through the struggle.
"We allow the pain to trigger our ego when things don’t go exactly as planned," fitness expert and co-owner of VeganSmart John Lewis tells Elite Daily. "Many times, we set amazing goals that give us a sort of euphoric feeling just thinking about the goal… but oftentimes, while setting these amazing goals, we forget to account for the work that those goals are going to require."
Bottom line? If your resolutions are things you actually want to achieve, don't let one (or a few) minor setbacks get you down. The new year, and the new you, deserve a clean slate.