It’s that time of year again. You assess how the last year has been and how you want the New Year to be. For about 50 percent of us, that means you will devise some kind of list of improvements and changes you want to make, a New Year’s Resolution. They look good on paper, and you are sure you can do them. After all, you have a desire to change, so what else do you need?
Try super-human powers. I should note here that statistics show that only 8 percent actually achieve the goals they set, and most of us are out of the game before the Superbowl game is played. Let’s look at some of the ways these resolutions fail:
- Your goal is unrealistic. It’s too much to take on. Smaller bites are easier to digest. That goes for changing behavior too.
You have too many goals. Lose weight AND begin a successful start-up? You will be eating donuts while working at 3 am.
Your goals are too vague. “Being a better person” isn’t a goal. It’s a result of reaching your goals.
Using guilt, shame or fear as a tactic. Negativity always gets negative results.
You hang out with the wrong crowd. Drinking buddies never support your desire to cut back on alcohol.
You rely on “willpower”. That takes way too much attention. Imagine if all you had to do all day is avoid eating a piece of chocolate cake. You will eventually tire of this monumental task and have your cake and eat it too.
- No one is accountable. If you don’t share your goals with anybody, how easy is it for you to skip out? Statistics show that help from others give you a much better chance to succeed with your goal.
- There’s no reward involved. You need to take the money you save from your daily sugar-filled Mochachino habit and put it towards something like a trip to Italy to have a real cup of coffee.
- You didn’t prioritize. Is it really more important to lose 10 pounds than it is to stop smoking? The more important the task, the more you will strive to achieve your goal.
- You are using someone else’s goals. You have to individualize. Do what is important to you, and not use some generic to do list for your goals.
I work with patients every day and together we succeed in making lasting lifestyle changes that match their individual goals. It’s a path to better choices and improved health, not just an end of year list. Next week I will outline ways to support your goals as an individual and guide you with knowledgeable choices to make actual changes in your life. That’s my resolution.