Why We Fail New Year's Resolutions
Why We Fail New Year's Resolutions
How is that New Year’s resolution coming along?
You know the one we all tell ourselves every single year.
It goes something like, “this year I’m going to get healthy.” Meanwhile, we’re not even sure what healthy even looks like for ourselves anymore.
If you’re like me, there’s been plenty of “new year, new me” moments in the past. Moments where I was ready to take on the world January 1st and by the end of 4 weeks, would rather crawl up in bed and hibernate for eternity.
For years, I wrestled with this habit—set a goal, stay consistent for a few weeks due to sheer willpower and when it ran out, everything else went out the window. Year after year, I was up and down on the healthy habit wagon—weeks of consistency and progress, followed by weeks of none. It was exhausting and unmanageable.
So I took a step back to look at my habits and how they were playing a role in my health journey and I realized something big…
My goals were out of line.
I spent years chasing what I thought were goals that would make me a healthy and happy person, when in fact, they were moving me further away from those feelings. My sole focus was the goal that I set miles ahead of myself, meanwhile, I had no clue how I was going to get there and stay there.
No process, no guidance, no system.
That last word stuck with me—system.
In the past, I had always leaned on my personal drive to help overcome the obstacles that stood between me and a goal, and this worked for quite some time. But at a point, you no longer can rely solely on your will, you need a system.
A system helped organize my thoughts into a cohesive plan. A system held me accountable every day. A system pushed me forward toward the goal, while also setting the foundations for future success.
Once I had these systems set for myself and realized that they worked, I had to find others who were doing the same.
That’s when I found James Clear…
This guy figured out that goals aren’t always the answer to our problems…
In his writing, Clear talks about the major issue with goal setting—they only get you so far. Matter of fact, goals are simply a way to steer your direction, it’s systems that move the markers towards the goal you want to achieve.
Our problems, goals, accomplishments, are all solved by systems. Clear figured something out that was always inside all of us, but few of us had any idea it was there—an inherent desire for systems.
He puts it best when describing the four reasons why all of us lose when we set goals without setting systems first:
- Winners and losers have the same goals.
We as people tend to focus on those who win, assuming their ambitious goals are the reason they made it there. When in fact, there are others just like them with the same goals who simply took a different path to the same destination—that doesn’t make one better than the other.
- Achieving goals is only a momentary change.
Meeting a goal is great, but what happens when you make it there and then you don’t know what to do next. This is something I see with clients alot—they will do anything to see a specific number on the scale, but few actually have set practices to maintain that number and feel good. Though we can achieve the number we want, it’s only for a period of time, which can make us feel like we never got there at all.
- Goals restrict your happiness.
We all want to be happy right? Well sometimes when we set goals without systems first, we miss the mark on happiness because all of it is bundled up in the goal itself. We put this goal on a pedestal and push off happiness until we reach it, thinking that we can be happy when we get there.
But what happens when we battle this “either-or” conflict? Either we meet our goal and can be happy or not reach our goal and be miserable. Sounds like a pretty tough way to approach our health wouldn’t you say?
All we are assured of is the present moment, so it’s up to us to cease it!
- Goals stand in the way of progress.
When we spend all our time focusing on this one singular goal, we can lose sight of all the other things going on around us. Once we get to that goal, we’re completely unsure of where to go after that? While our focus was on the goal, we lost sight of the process which is the real goal—endless refinement and constant improvement.
Let’s talk about setting our own health goals and systems…
If our goal is to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks just because, there is no clear path for how we are going to accomplish this. For all we know, we could starve ourselves and exercise like crazy and drop 10 pounds in two weeks, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to keep the weight off.
In the same vein, if we want to lose 10 lbs so that we can dance at our kid’s wedding this summer and see our potential grandkids grow up, we need to establish a system that will serve us for years to come, not just for a season.
Systems can change your health journey forever…
I recognized that I was setting goals without understanding the critical impact that my systems were having on my ability to reach those goals. As a result, I was digging myself a deeper and deeper hole of doubt each time I felt like I fell short of the goals that I realistically, was never going to achieve.
While I could continue down this same path, hoping that determination and motivation might get me out, the reality was that true change was not behavior change, results change, or even process change, it was a complete identity change—and that began when I started adding systems into my life.
And let me tell you, these systems have made exploring, growing, and maintaining my health an adventure I actually enjoy and look forward to each and every day!
How to create a system for your health goals…
Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “how do I set up a system that will help me reach my health goals?”
Guess what? I’m going to share that with you. But that’s for another blog post coming soon!