Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work – And 3 Things To Do Instead

PLUS: a surprise to help you live your full potential 🙂

I just Googled “New Year's Resolutions”.

Can you guess how many results turned up?

28 million plus.

It’s not that surprising, especially this time of the year, personal development guru's all over the world are pounding the message of New Year's Resolutions in your inbox.

But honestly? I think the whole idea to wait out a full year, until you make a major positive life change or uproot a habit, is simply crazy.

Perhaps you want it so bad that your next big goal dominates your waking thoughts.

Or maybe, you want to kick off that old nagging habit.

No matter what it is, you’re not getting any closer to your resolutions by waiting all year to decide which new habits to embrace and which old ones to cut away.

New Year's Resolutions hardly work. Research states that typically, the first 2 weeks go along really well. But by the time you’re in February, you’re often farther behind from where you started out in December.

Is it because we're so bad at sticking to our yearly goals; is it that we’re weak-willed or plain not motivated enough?

Or is it something else?

4 reasons why resolutions hardly work, and why you should quit wasting time on them:

New Year's Resolutions

1. We seek what are other people’s resolutions, not ours.

We think it’s what we should be doing, rather than what we want to be doing.

It could be that your resolution that you set and give up on every year is completely misaligned with your core values, making it easy to quit before the finish line.

2. When you quit cold turkey, rather than doing it as a short-term goal.

Making resolutions involves changing major behaviour patterns, which requires re-wiring your neural pathways.

Trying to not do things the “default” way (like you’ve always done) and going cold turkey on certain behaviour patterns in fact strengthens the very behaviour.

3. Resolutions are about getting from here to there and therefore rooted in a limited thinking pattern.

In effect, a resolution will often have a tendency to make you feel you’re less than where you want to be. They re-enforce the gap which may or may not motivate you. It all depends on what drives you.

4. Resolutions are rigid and externally focused.

They ask you to make changes to externalised objects, or something that’s outside of us. It’s also a pretty rigid way of looking at things – you either do it or you fail. Until you work on what’s inside, changing the external reality is pretty darn hard.

Instead, embrace all of you whole-heartedly and set fluid goals that are not too rigid and are more in alignment with your values, choices, beliefs and purpose.

Now, the big question is, if resolutions don’t work, what does?

Do these 3 simple things instead of setting ineffective New Year's Resolutions

Live your purpose

1. Live your purpose; don’t worry about finding it.

Now, this may sound cliché because you’ve heard this advice a zillion times before, but what do you do when you don’t know your purpose? Sounds too wishy washy, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry too much about “finding your purpose”. Simply get curious about whatever it is you’re engaged in in the current moment – get curious about what you love doing, what you’re good at and how other people are successful at doing it.

Build empowering rituals

2. Build empowering rituals.

Dedicate 10 minutes each day to what you love. When I was studying coaching, I’d dedicate one hour every day, for five days in a row, without fail.

Not only did it allow me to become the most successful coach in Australasia, it also gave me the freedom to get curious and explore what I loved doing.

Our focus is our reality. David J. Lieberman

3. Start connecting with what you value.

When you’re aligned with your values (such as playfulness, learning and growing, connecting, contributing, health and vitality), you begin seeking experiences with curiosity every single day and living your life on your terms, which means you’re living consistently and congruently with your values.

Seek experiences that allows you to stay true to your core values every day.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of opinions out there.

Ultimately, your personal truth is what works for you.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new and different result.

You’ve tried setting resolutions all these years. Perhaps it has worked out for you sporadically at best.

But if I’m right, I am guessing this hasn’t been the case for you so far and now it’s time for a change. To me, that sounds like a far better strategy.

Because what’s the alternative?

You tinker around looking for “short-cuts” on the Internet, reading articles, buying short courses, but nothing works because the underlying strategy doesn’t work.

Wouldn’t you rather skip all of those years running around in circles and do what might have a better chance of working now?

I trust you will. Good luck 🙂

Dream Team is the award-winning marketing and innovations hub for The Coaching Institute and the coaching industry. Whether it's testing new ideas or challenging the old, updating best practices or disrupting conventions, Dream is here for you with the latest and best in the coaching industry along with tools, tips, strategies and case studies of real-world results that are breaking industry records.

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