New Year’s Resolutions fail without planning. In this article, we’ll share common reasons why resolutions fail and how to pick back up and keep going towards the future you really want.

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5 Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How to Avoid Failing Again

1. You’re biting off more than you can chew
2. You’re not setting milestones
3. You’re not tracking progress
4. You don’t have a compelling purpose
5. You’re not writing them down

Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail?

We’re a few weeks into the new year. Have you kept your resolutions or are they already a thing of the past, like 2017? Because if you’re like the 90.8% of Americans who give up before they achieve their resolutions, here’s some help and hope you can use to recommit to your resolutions. Let’s look at five glaringly obvious and common reasons.

1. You’re biting off more than you can chew

We tend to get wrapped up in excitement for the new year and overwhelm ourselves. The result is we end up with more aspirations than we can realistically handle. For this reason, Julie Christopher, CEO of Biztuition, warns against creating a “long list of stuff”.

“Unfortunately, most of us create too much resistance by injecting too many resolutions and goals into our minds,” Julie says. “This process results in setting too many expectations and creating unrealistic goals. We end up with a long list of trying to do everything at once, relying on our emotions to keep us motivated until we achieve them.”

Julie’s solution to a “long list” of resolutions is to scale it down. Her recommendation, pick a much more doable number of goals. Ideally, just pick one goal with the biggest impact and stick with it until you achieve it.

2. You’re not setting milestones

Now that you’ve narrowed down your long list to a single doable resolution, the next step is to set milestones. Milestones are signs of success along the way that help you stay motivated. Instead of waiting weeks or months to recognize your accomplishments, break your resolution into smaller goals with a reward for each milestone you reach. When thinking about milestones, it’s best to create them based on the actions that lead to results. That way you are motivated by the effort that brings results.

Part of the problem with typical New Year’s resolutions is that they’re poorly designed,” says Michael Hyatt, author of Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals. “Effective goals are specific and measurable. Goals poorly formulated are goals easily forgotten.”

3. You’re not tracking progress

If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Peter Drucker, the legendary author of the Effective Executive is credited with this saying. With this in mind, it can be said that tracking your progress is a missing link between your daily actions and achieving your resolution.

One person who deeply understands this is Shelley Cernel of the sales consulting company, the Savo Group. Her article 9 New Year’s Resolutions for Successful Sales Reps makes how to track your progress easier, “Identify what you want to achieve, and how, in the next 30 days, the next 6 months, and the next year. Next, determine how you will measure success. Is it the number of phone calls and emails? Average number of touches? Number of meetings or advance opportunities? Pipeline conversion rates? Revenue?”

Whether your new year’s resolution is personal or professional, if you don’t track your progress, you will likely end up trying to achieve the same goals again next year. To avoid this, check out the apps HabitTracker and Strides to track your progress and hit your goals.

4. You don’t have a compelling purpose

Even with the right tools and planning, if the purpose behind your resolution is not compelling enough, motivating enough, or inspiring enough, you will not have enough of what it takes to see it through.

“Another major reason resolutions fail is that we’re not motivated enough to attain them,” Michael Hyatt says in his blog. “Without a compelling reason to persist, we lose interest, get distracted, or forget what we purposed to do. As my wife Gail says, ‘People lose their way when they lose their why.'”

If you’ve had trouble creating a clear and compelling “why” that will keep you motivated, consider digging deeper with The Purpose Pack. And if you’re trouble is staying motivated, print out these affirmations or quotes and pin them in plain sight.

5. You’re not writing them down

The biggest and most common reason resolutions fail is because they aren’t written down. The power of writing your resolutions down cannot be overstated. When you take the time to think about the future you want and write it down, the results can be staggering.

For instance, consider this Harvard study of MBA students. After 10 years, students who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice as much as the student without goals. You might think that’s good. But the students who wrote their goals down earned 10 times as much as all the other students combined.

Writing down your resolutions is no different. Writing your resolutions down and placing them somewhere you’ll see them is a simple way to drastically increase the odds you’ll reach them. While you’re at it, share your resolution with others. Additional studies have shown that sharing your written resolutions with others increases your likelihood of success even further.

Now you can recommit and dive back in…

You have resolutions for a reason, you know your life and career will better when you achieve them. It’s ok to get off track or get distracted. That’s completely normal. But you want more than just a normal life and applying these five resolution resuscitators can make 2018 your best year ever!

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