Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

February 24, 2015 | By | Add a Comment

Welcome to the New Year! Have you begun working on your resolutions yet – or have you given up on them already – again?

I was stunned to discover recently that some 90% of New Year’s Resolutions disappear within the first 30 days! (PsychCentral.com.) That is a truly stunning statistic; fully 9 of 10 people give up on their resolutions within ONE MONTH! (So, how long did it take you to break yours this year? Maybe it’s time to try something different.)

There are a number of reasons for this but, for me, it’s all about letting go of the previous year and focusing on the new one. There are two ways to make this happen: you can create a vison for 2015, an overriding goal, then begin the practical work to get there; or you can make a list of specific goals, then create a vision to encompass them.

Create a Vision for 2015

The key is to create a Vision that encompasses all areas of the main domains in your life: relationships, health, career, service, and then begin the work required to improve each of them on an incremental, daily basis.

Most New Year’s resolutions are too extreme. Research shows that going for a 5% incremental improvement leads to sustainable change. In other words, small changes can lead to BIG results. Plus, New Year’s resolutions are often not set in the context of a bigger vision for who you want to be.

Write it down, or draw it, or talk to your friend or accountability partner about it. A great exercise is creating a Family Vision Board for the year, where everyone participates and supports each other.

  • Relationships – The most important area of your life deserves the same amount of energy and focus as you career. How do you rate the current health of each, and how does the other person rate your relationship?
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  • Health – Taking care of your body, mind, and spirit are critical to reaching your goals for the year, and for achieving your Vision. Don’t ignore any of these vital areas. Eat well and exercise, mediate or do yoga, stay in touch with your Self – every day.
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  • Career – Part of feeling fulfilled is being productive and knowing you have value. Your work – done well – can increase your sense of self-worth exponentially. Don’t ignore its importance to making you a well-rounded human being.
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  • Service – What are doing to help others? This is another great way to see yourself in a positive light, and it has far reaching health benefits that are impossible to measure objectively, though research shows that those how help others are happier than those who don’t.

We do a “Family Vision” session every year and, in my mind’s eye, I always picture my teenagers rolling their eyes as my wife announces, “It’s time for our vision board crafts!” In reality, I think they love expressing their hopes and dreams for the year, and each one expresses this in their own way. For me, it’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with my kids, at a time when most parents are losing the connection with theirs.

Executives suffer from over-focus and under self-care. Create a Great Vision of your upcoming year and take some small action toward making that a reality TODAY – and EVERY DAY!

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About the Author (Author Profile)

Executive coach, top team facilitator, author and speaker. I work with individual leaders and their teams to help navigate personal and professional transitions and to increase leadership capacity and improve communication and relationship skills. I founded my coaching firm in 2001 following 12 years asa CEO. Check out more on me and my coaching process in my book "The Business of Wanting More: Why Some Executives Move from Success to Fulfillment and Others Don't"

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