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Why Resolutions Fail (And How to Keep Them)

New years resolutions fail

By Scott Zielsdorf

Why do all these New Year’s resolutions end so prematurely? With Jan. 17 being “Ditch Your Resolutions” Day, most are left wondering why it’s so difficult to keep up that overpriced gym membership.

Everyone starts the journey with such motivation and a drive to succeed. Much akin to an adventurous climber setting out to conquer a massive mountain for the first time, many New Year’s resolutions wind up feeling like an insurmountable obstacle.

New Year’s resolutions, in theory, are excellent practice. They represent a fresh slate of sorts, an opportunity to do something new or make an improvement to a particular aspect of one’s life.

Many Canadians do still declare New Year’s resolutions; a 2018 survey conducted by Tangerine showed that 69 per cent of Canadians had attempted life-changing resolutions. Over half of respondents declared an emphasis on improving their physical health.

Many people will confidently declare goals such as losing 50 pounds, saving more money or mastering the guitar. It’s a new year, and nothing will stop them! But then only mere weeks later they’ve declared the initiative a bust.

Could it be that people are setting themselves up to fail from the very beginning? Lauren Cleveland, a life coach, operating in the Camrose area, believes the issue is precisely that.

“[People] tend to go really broad, ‘I want to lose weight or make more money.’ They aren’t thinking so much about how they’ll do that,” said Cleveland when asked about the number one obstacle for resolutions.

As it turns out, there are ways to make New Year’s resolutions work. The primary issue is that people aim far too broad in scope when it comes to their resolutions and thus only focus on the result. In contrast, the goal should be to focus on and enjoy the process of how to get there.

“It’s about finding the fun in the process, not the result. For example, if you hate running, don’t choose running for your resolution.”

Cleveland added, “you should be asking yourself, ‘what do I have to do today?’ It’s about little tiny steps, so you can say you did what you had to do today.”

Some may find themselves asking ‘what does a resolution like that look like?’ The process of creating a successful resolution is mostly about focusing on the specifics. Taking it day-by-day and feeling good about the small victories is the key to staying devoted to a New Year’s resolution.

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