What to Do When Your Resolution Fails

Sorry for being presumptuous. I know that I should be saying, What to Do IF Your Resolution Fails instead of jumping the gun with the when but let’s get real here. Like really real. Like 2015 University of Scranton study real.

The study found that only eight per cent of people actually succeed in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions. Eight per cent! That’s miniscule! That means that 92 per cent of people fail (do you see where I’m coming from with the title?). So, really, don’t worry so much when (if) you fail too. I mean, statistically, it’s totally understandable and very highly likely. You are certainly not alone in this so don’t beat yourself up too hard.

But perhaps we need to take a note out of Aaliyah’s songbook (may she rest in peace) and when, if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. It’s all too easy to give up once the going gets rough but if you want to make it into that eight per cent, you may want to re-examine your resolution and heed the following advice.

First of all, make sure that your resolution is actually a resolution. Meaning that it’s a goal, not just a dream. Meaning that it’s REALISTIC and ATTAINABLE, not some outlandish fantasy you wish to fulfill. Be really really really real with yourself about it. Is it really possible for you to drop five dress sizes by Valentine’s Day? No. Not safely or healthily, anyway. Is it possible for you to drop five pounds by Valentine’s Day? Yes, absolutely. Which brings us to our next point¦

Be specific. If your resolution is simply to lose weight, it is much less likely to happen without a little bit more detail as to how much weight and how you will go about losing it. Losing weight is a big pie in the sky idea. Losing five pounds by Valentine’s Day is a little less daunting. Losing five pounds by Valentine’s Day by going to the gym three times a week gives you the means to the end. Losing five pounds by Valentine’s Day by going to the gym three times a week to do one hour of weight training followed by 30 minutes of cardio, even better. See where I’m going with this? Being specific means making a clear plan with all the steps outlined to achieve the goal. And the plan ought to be one that fits into your schedule easily enough so you aren’t turning your whole life upside down. And on that note¦

Do your research. Understand what it will actually take to reach your goal. Learn what is the best and most effective way for you to lose five pounds by Valentine’s Day instead of just hitting the gym and totally winging it. If you know what you’re getting yourself into, you will know what plan to make and what path to follow. And you will be less likely to come across unexpected bumps along the road that could throw you off course. And while you travel along this path¦

Take baby steps. Break your resolution down into a bunch of little goals instead of having one big one looming over your head. Let’s use a different resolution example. Let’s use mine! My New Year’s Resolution is to stop drinking Coke. Seriously, I’m addicted, I have a problem, like I pretty much drink one every day, and even though I’m the kind of person who is all about indulging in life’s greatest pleasures, I know it’s just SO bad for me. But I’m addicted, legit. So is it really a good idea for me to just drink my last Coke on New Year’s Eve and say goodbye forever? No! Guaranteed I’m going to be having serious cravings the very next day and by day three the withdrawals will be just too much and I’ll cave and abandon the whole idea. Instead, I’m going to cut back and take baby steps towards No Cokes. Drink a Coke only three times a week, say, for the month of January. It will be much easier to refrain from having one on Tuesday if I know that Wednesday is my Coke drinking day. Then in February, only two Cokes per week. March, only one. By the time the Blue Jays are back, I’ll be Coke free!

Finally, be sure to burn your boats. Which means get rid of everything that might possibly bring you from the land of new habit across the sea of failure and back to the land of old habit. Make it damn near impossible (if not totally impossible) for you to fail. For example, if your goal is to quit smoking, it’s probably not the best idea to keep ashtrays around your house and lighters in your purse.

And if all of this fails you too, well, face it honey. You just aren’t emotionally invested enough. And if you aren’t emotionally invested, it’s just not gonna happen. Old habits die hard and making big changes can be tough, especially if we are trying to force them on ourselves because the New Year means new beginnings so now is the best time to start. No, the best time to start is when you’re good and ready. So if you aren’t totally resolute about your resolution, then resolve to love yourself just the way you are and be happy that you made it into that eight per cent.

Tags: failed new year's resolutions, fitness goals

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