Ok we admit it! Every. Single. Year we fail to stick to our new years resolutions at House of Coco. Whether that be to get fitter, healthier or richer, we just dont seem to have the willpower to stick at it past the 31st January.
We have teamed up with Vicky Kelly, the founder of the new goal planning system Yolsk, to find out why resolutions/ goals fail and a few pointers on how to overcome this.
- You are not truly motivated by the resolution.
In this instance you are either doing it because you think you should, or because someone else has suggested you should. Without investigating what a real, meaningful motivation would be which would keep you on track, you will likely fall off whichever wagon you are on relatively quickly! We always encourage our users when setting any goals in life, that it’s worthwhile to take time to consider what it will mean to them if they are successful, and to keep focused on that; instead of focusing on the thing that you shouldn’t be doing.
For example, if your resolution is to “give up smoking” it’s not a very clear instruction to your subconscious mind. So after a month you could be allowed to feel you’ve been successful and the motivation wanes. We encourage our users to be as specific as possible; and positive! So specifying a health related goals, which measurable effects. I.e. Reach the end of 2015 as a non-smoker, who is able to ___________ as a result; is much more specific!
- The resolution is not backed up with feasible actions to make it work.
The vast majority of people will just set their goal, and pat themselves on the back for having set it and get back on with their lives. Well they need to hold their horses! We insist that every goal is backed up with actions which are going to contribute to its success. To stick with the smoking example, the actions that this person may need to take might include: Buying nicotine substitute. Take up another hobby. Address stress issue that makes me crave cigarettes. We ask our users to note down all of their actions and we remind them as they go along, to keep them on track! So whatever your resolution may be, decide what this looks like in actions, and make a commitment to those actions.
- You aren’t prepared for the potential problems, or don’t have the resources you need.
If you haven’t considered for a moment that it might be tough and you’ll be tempted to give up, then you need to start thinking about that right now. To fail to plan, is to plan to fail. Of course you can’t be aware of every possible eventuality, but acknowledging the most likely ones, and having an acceptance that it will be hard at times is a big step. We have a process to encourage problem resolution at the outset of goal planning, to minimise this factor as much as possible.
- Didn’t share your goals with supportive people.
Sharing your goals is important. It shows more of a commitment to them, and it gives you some support. So whether you are sharing with direct friends and family, an online community or with a supportive app; sharing increases your chances of success straight away. If the smoker tells everyone, I will be a permanent non-smoker by the end of this year, they know they will be asked regularly throughout the year how they are getting on.
- Forgetting your goal
This might sound silly, but it’s amazing how many people fall off the wagon, or fail to achieve something, simply because they’d forgotten their original intention, or the reason behind the intention. This does come down to point one of course. And having a system in place that helps keep your important goals in the forefront will help no end.
- You take a tiny slip up as a total failure
We all need to relax and give ourselves a break from time to time. Be realistic in our expectations of ourselves, and say “hey, I got that wrong, but that’s okay, it’s part of the learning process”. So if you have the cigarette, just acknowledge it, and say to yourself “Okay, what happened today that made me want to do that? What can I do to minimise the chance of that happening again?” Remember: there is no failure, only feedback from which you can learn and grow. The classic goal setter has the cigarette, believes they have failed and falls back into old habits. The Yolsk goal setter knows it’s a long, winding journey to success. Success is a feeling. You are the one who decides how successful you are, so it’s up to you how you respond to your slip ups. Those who support you will help you to see this.
- Life gets in the way
Often the reason a goal gets forgotten, is the whirlwind of day to day life. That whirlwind will always be there, unless you are consciously opting out of the compulsion to get things done in accordance with the expectation that society places on us all the time (which we strongly recommend). The art of getting what you want out of life is to remember to “keep the most important thing, the most important thing” (Stephen R. Covey). If you feel the time pressures of other things calling you away from what you need to do to achieve that goal, ask yourself this: “Which of these things is most important to me? Which is going to serve me, and which am I serving?” – The whirlwind will be there when you have finished your priority stuff, you can afford to step away. If you put the whirlwind first, it will be the vortex into which all of your time is sucked!
- You don’t really believe in yourself
Most of us have some internal dialogue which puts us down, questions whether we are deserving or capable. This internal dialogue has been labelled as many different things; the shadow, the monkey mind, the chimp, the ego, the devil… Notice that all of these things are separate to you. You are not your thoughts, you are what you choose to be. I’ve had to get over some monkey minded thoughts and the clutches of the shadow to get to where I am today. We know that it’s there, but we know that it’s separate. Let us help you keep that in your mind too, so you can let go of those unhelpful thoughts and embrace the life you truly deserve.