Kick the Resolution Habit – Stop recycling your goals

 New Year’s resolutions can be an effective way to improve your life. Of course, you don’t have to set goals at the beginning of the year. Goals can be set, and should be set, at any time of the year.

New Year’s resolutions (NYRs) are a bit different from the usual goal settings. They give you a very natural way of tracking progress, as you start from the 1st month of the year and finish on the 12th month. As a result, progress tracking, and milestone settings are very easy. The NYR hype can also keep you motivated for a longer period.

Is your NYR the same as a previous year? If so, it is very likely that you will fail again.

I explain why you shouldn’t recycle your NYR in this article.

60% of people will recycle their NYR every year and 50% of the resolutions won’t make it past the 2nd month. The average New Year’s resolutionist will try again up to 10 times, that is 10 years of failure, before giving up.

Do you know Aaliyah’s famous song “Try Again”, which tells you, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again”? I say, “if at first you don’t succeed, give up.”

You might say, “hold on a second Sam, don’t you always say one should never give up? Isn’t this contradicting what you stand for?” No it isn’t. To understand fully, keep reading.

 93% of ex-gamblers will return to gambling within 2 years. 80% of Americans who quit smoking failed to maintain non-smoking after a year. 50% of alcoholics relapsed within three months of treatment. 90% of those who lose weight through dieting will regain the weight lost within a few years, and many even gain more weight than they originally lost.

With all the statistics stacked against them, they will still keep trying hopelessly. Don’t get into the false-hope syndrome.

Even if you manage to quit a bad habit, for example, smoking, for only a few months, you will, of course, be much better off than not doing so. For example, if you try quitting 10 times and only last 3 months on each occasion, you will still have benefited from 30 months of compliance.

Any time you fail, your confidence and self-esteem are lowered and depression can kick in. This is especially true with NYR goal settings, as there are many social pressures attached to them, including the fact that many people talk about their NYR.

False hope can damage your life. People are convinced that a few adjustments will make them reach their goals next time around. This cycle is very likely to continue indefinitely, and the goal is likely to never be achieved.

No matter how many times you have failed a goal, keep trying. If you, however,  failed your NYR, give up!

Why not try again?

People are using NYR as a way to reach a new goal and yet their subconscious is aware that they can try again next year.

Follow this one rule and you will have a higher NYR success rate:

“I will NEVER recycle the same NYR”

I’ve never had the same NYR, thus it puts me under pressure, in a good way, to make sure I perform at my highest level to achieve my goals.

If your NYR does fail, do not make it your NYR for next year. It will fail again and take away opportunity for other positive NYR outcomes next year.

Take your failed NYR, write it in your calendar on a new date, and treat it as a separate goal.

To stick to your NYR, or goals, share it with as many people as possible.

Find goal buddies, or get one of your friends to try the same goal as you.

Find an accountability buddy like I have. They also have a goal, maybe not the same one, but they will help to set you timeline and targets, and put mutual pressure on each other to succeed.

Be specific about your goals, especially, with your accountability buddies. For example, don’t just say, “I want to learn Spanish”. If you are following a book, make sure you set dates for your accomplishments.  For example, finish lessons XYZ in 30, 60, 90, 120, etc. days.

Last but not least, enjoy your journey towards your new goal.

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