New Year’s Resolutions? Who are we kidding?
As the calendar flips to a new year, many of us embark on the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. We enthusiastically declare our intentions to:
– lose weight
– try a new gym routine
– eat a different diet
– eat less, move more
– give up smoking, drinking, chocolate
– save more money
– earn more money/find a new job
– repay debt, or even
– revamp the budget.
Each year we set out with good intentions, but how long do these new resolutions last?
As the weeks pass, the initial fervour often dwindles, and by mid February many resolutions are abandoned.
Why does this happen and how can we break free from the cycle of failed resolutions?
So… Why do we think that THIS YEAR will be different?
Let’s take a look at some insights that we think may boost your chances of achieving your goals in the upcoming year.
YOUR BRAIN DOESN’T HAVE A SWITCH
One of the primary reasons resolutions falter is the tendency to set unrealistic goals. As we usher in the new year, the desire for transformative change often leads us to aim for objectives that are too ambitious or difficult to sustain.
Let’s face it… Most of us are unlikely to wake up tomorrow and be an entirely new person. Our current habits are ingrained from years of repetition and influenced by our parents, peers, lifestyle, thought patterns and surroundings.
Someone once told me that trying to force a sudden, drastic change to our habits without understanding the foundation that created it is a recipe for failure. Perhaps we need to identify the patterns and how they came about before we entertain the thought that this time will be different.
Relying solely on willpower is a recipe for disappointment. The belief that sheer determination will carry us through neglects the importance of creating an environment and habits that support our goals.
STOP DOING WHAT DOESN’T WORK
I’m sure you’ve heard the definition of insanity…
‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!’
Another common pitfall is the failure to develop a concrete plan for achieving resolutions. Setting a goal is only the first step. Without a well thought through strategy, it’s easy to lose momentum and succumb to the challenges that arise.
It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of trying harder at something that isn’t working. For instance, persistently attempting to stick to a budget or restricting spending often leads to a cycle of temporary success followed by a relapse.
Rather than pushing harder, consider exploring different systems or strategies that may be more effective and sustainable.
Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the actions required to achieve your goals. Whether it’s a weekly workout schedule or a monthly budget, having a roadmap significantly increases your chances of success.
FOCUS ON HIGH IMPACT ACTIONS
Instead of aiming for monumental change, break down your resolutions into smaller, achievable steps. Be specific about what you want to accomplish and establish realistic timelines.
Financial goals often falter when too many small things are pursued simultaneously. Instead, concentrate on the vital few things that will make the most significant impact.
Follow the Pareto Principle and identify the 20% of actions that contribute to 80% of the difference.
For your finance goals, this might include:
– consolidating your debt and reducing your credit and store cards
– refinancing your loans
– consolidating superannuation funds
– obtaining new insurance quotes
Identify actions that offer more substantial, long term benefits than intricate, time consuming strategies.
BUILD SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Share your resolutions with friends or family who can provide encouragement and accountability. Having a support system can make the journey more enjoyable and help you stay on track during challenging times.
FOCUS ON PROCESS, NOT PERFECTION
Shift your mindset from achieving perfection to embracing progress. Recognise that setbacks are a natural part of any journey and view them as opportunities to learn and adjust your approach.
Acknowledge and celebrate the smaller victories along the way. Recognising your achievements, no matter how modest, reinforces positive behaviour and keeps you motivated.
Breaking free from the cycle of failed New Year’s resolutions requires a shift in mindset and approach.
A common misconception is that achieving goals must be a difficult and complicated journey. What if the key isn’t in trying harder but in simplifying the path?
Embrace simplicity in the new year. You might find a more effective and sustainable route to your goals.