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Why Resolutions Fail and How To Make Them Stick

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Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? January is an ideal time to take stock of your life and figure out what is and isn’t working for you. It’s a clean sheet, a blank canvas, and an opportunity to make some positive changes. No matter what has gone before, now is the time to take a deep breath, let it go, and face forward.

But before you go jotting down a list of resolutions, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Research suggests that the majority of resolutions are doomed to fail . Here are several reasons why:

1. They were made hastily with little thought.
2. You set an intention but didn’t set out how you were going to achieve it.
3. You took on too much, too soon.
4. Your resolutions were made around negative thoughts.
5. You were not specific enough.
6. They lacked a timeline and an ultimate deadline.
7. You didn’t set out how you intended to measure them.
8. You focused on what others think you should achieve rather than what you want to achieve.

How To Make Your Resolutions Stick
Here is a typical scenario. Perhaps your resolution is to lose weight. After the holiday on January 2nd, you go around the house throwing away all the remaining Christmas cookies, chocolates, and other festive food that's lingering.

You begin with a strict detox and throw yourself back into the gym with gusto. Over the next couple of weeks, you drink enough green juice to float a small ship, and embark on a drastic diet. By February (if you’re lucky) you’re tired, burned out, and eventually resort to ordering takeout. Sound familiar?

The intention was a good one, but there are several reasons why it may fail. The first is that your resolution wasn’t specific enough. It also has some negative connotations. Losing weight and dieting are restrictive in their nature. By focusing on this, you’re more likely to fail. However, if you make your intentions more specific and positive, then the focus changes. So, it could be exercising three times a week or cutting out processed sugar, etc. You’re still working towards the same outcome albeit with a more positive and specific focus.

Another common reason that resolutions fail is that you take on too much, setting yourself up for failure. I like to aim for small, achievable changes at first and build on them later. This year, I am trying to read more frequently. I am typically a night reader, which means I do it right after I hop into bed for the night. But guess what? I'm pretty exhausted at this point, so not much reading is ever accomplished.

Instead, I've been setting aside 15 minutes per day to read exclusively. I keep my book handy, and I set the timer on my phone. As time progresses, I'll work up to 20, 25, 30 or more minutes per day. But for now, 15 minutes works for me as I put this resolution into motion.

In some cases, you may need to enlist the help of others. For example, you may need family members to help around the house while you work out. Or, you may need the help of a professional. Sometimes, all the green juice, exercising and dieting in the world won’t make the changes you’re looking for. So you may decide to turn to an expert such as Belcara Health to help you achieve the appearance you desire. If you need to ask for help, be sure you reach out to the right people.

Try Something Different
Rather than setting resolutions each year, many people have opted for a different approach. Choosing a word of the year or several themes can be a successful approach to making positive changes in the new year.. The idea is that you have a focus for the year. So your word/theme may be clarity, magic, love, etc. You then think about the conditions that may make this possible. So if you’re looking for love this year, you can think about how you’re going to accomplish this in a way that feels comfortable for you.

Daniel LaPorte has a slightly different way of looking at resolutions. Rather than setting goals, she focuses on how you want to feel . This gets right to the root of the issue and can lead to some surprising revelations. My word for 2017 is focus. I chose this word because I don't want to feel as if I am always distracted and not fully present. I want to feel accomplished and aware.

Brené Brown asks herself four questions at the beginning of the year. She uses the answers to inform her actions.

There is no right way of setting resolutions. However, don’t fall into the trap of burning out after a few short weeks. Think carefully about what it is you want to achieve. Be specific and set down the conditions needed to manifest your hopes and dreams. And don’t take on too much, too soon.

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