Why You Won't Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions

During the holiday season, we overeat, overspend and “under” work. It’s the adult version of recess before the new year. “New Year, New Me”, we proclaim. It’s like we expect a mythical switch to turn on at midnight on NYE. From that moment, we transform into mean, lean, resolution crushing machines. NOT!

In fact, according to Forbes only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. In 2018, I was an 8%-er! Not only did I crush my New Year’s Resolutions, I accomplished much more. I quit my job, launched my blog, landed 3 freelance writing gigs, was recognized as one of 35 top millennials in the nation and finally took the kids to Disney! As I reflected on the year and prepared for 2019, I found three things that helped me accomplish my goals in 2018:

Determine Your Why

Superficial goals look amazing on paper but are rarely accomplished because they don’t mean anything. In her book Becoming, Forever First Lady Michelle Obama talks about the positive reactions that she received as a child when she told people that she wanted to become a lawyer. The praise felt good, but she’d later discover that wasn't what she really wanted . I’m guilty of allowing others’ excitement (or that they were impressed) about a goal lead to me to believe that’s what I really wanted. Trust me, you will not be motivated to pursue a goal that you are not emotionally attached to.

So, how do you determine which goals are superficial and uncover what you really want? Ask yourself The 5 Why’s. The 5 Why’s is a problem solving exercise that I first learned about in corporate America. This technique helps you get to the root of a problem quickly. I use it to get to the real reason that I’m pursuing a goal. In this exercise, ask yourself “Why?” five times to help determine if the goal is truly what you want.

I’ll share mine.

Goal: As a freelance writer, to land a column in a global publication.

Why do you want to land a column in a global publication?

If I had my own column, I’d be offered book deals, increase my asking price for speaking engagements and get called on as an expert on panels, tv shows and gain new clients.

Why do you want these opportunities?

I’d be able to work on my own terms, “write my own checks” and help people in a meaningful way.

Why are these 3 things important to you?

Working on my own terms would provide the freedom that I’ve been searching for my entire career. With the time and financial freedom, I’d spend more time creating memories with my family.

So as you can see, my real goal is freedom, and it didn't even take all 5 why’s to uncover that! Landing a column in a global publication is the vehicle through which I can achieve freedom. It may be helpful to walk through this activity with another person that will push you to dig deeper.

Anticipate Obstacles

Life comes at you fast. And sometimes, hard. Regardless of how it comes at you, life happens. Often when we decide on our goals and create plans to execute, we are doing so with the expectation of perfect conditions. If you hire a trainer, stick to meal plan and ditch sugar for 90 days, you will likely lose the 15lbs that you resolved to. But, what if you unexpectedly lose your job 30 days in? You can no longer afford a trainer or meal planning services and you cancel your gym membership to save money.

What do you do? If you’re a part of the 92%, you’ll likely abandon your weight loss resolution and focus on landing a new job.

Those of us in the 8% think differently. Are there not other ways to lose 15lbs? Of course there are! YouTube has tons of videos that show you how to utilize items in your household as workout equipment. There are free Meetup fitness groups as well as fitness apps on your phone.

Remember, not everything will go as planned. Even the best planners cannot anticipate what life events will happen. However, I’ve found that when I expect the unexpected, I am better able to recover, pivot and continue moving toward my goals!

Fail Fast

Failure sucks and you will fail at something…more than once. There’s no need to sugar coat it. The difference between the 92% and the 8%, is that the latter doesn’t make the failure itself an event. Instead, we (the 8%-ers) accept the failure, learn from it and move on. I’ve interviewed for jobs and ultimately was not offered the role. Instead of turning up at my self imposed pity party, I was intentional in identifying what I could use from the experience to help me continue to grow. I’d had the opportunity to interview (great practice), be exposed to people that I may not have otherwise had access to and gained confidence to try again.

It’s easier said than done, but try to find the rainbow in every failure. Remember, just because you don’t achieve a goal as quickly as you’d hoped, doesn’t mean that you’ve taken an L. Dust yourself off and try again…with a different approach.

Fail fast and keep moving!

Are You A Part of the 8%?

Dig deep to uncover your real goals, not just those that look good on paper or to other people. Expect the unexpected and be prepared to re-route the journey to your end goal. Fail fast, learn from your missteps and continue to diligently pursue your goals. I’m excited to hear what 2019 has in store for all of my 8%-ers!

If you’d like one on one coaching to help identify, plan and pursue your goals, I ‘d love to work with you! Shoot me a note and let’s get connected!

Until next time..