An Open Letter To Every New Year Resolutions Defaulter

It is exactly eleven days to the last day of the first month of 2021. Are you still making do on those New Year resolutions or have you defaulted so soon? If yes, this one is for you. 

As 2020 drew to a close, I thought often about New Year resolutions and why they have a 90% failure rate. It also inspired this article I wrote here about all the things you should sort out before making those promises to turn a new leaf. There are a lot of reasons why resolutions fail, and you may attribute the major factor to be a lack of discipline. However, another pertinent question would be, Did you set the right goals for yourself?

To discover why you may have defaulted so soon and learn how to (possibly) get back on track, I have questions.

1. Did you make those resolutions for yourself?

Sounds like a ridiculous question to ask, no? Yet, it is so crucial that you take a moment to digest it before you answer. Most times, you are unaware that you have been trapped for so long in the expectations of people whose opinions you hold dear. As a result, you may have created New Year resolutions that include goals projected on you by these people rather than your ideal passions. Perhaps, another important question would be, Do you even know what you want?

What this means is that it doesn’t matter who thinks you have the body of a star athlete or that you would fit right into a particular career field. Shed the weight of expectations today and review your goals with a new intention to create the life that YOU want for yourself.

2. Have you been overthinking the many possible hurdles?

Sometimes, you are the villain in your own story, actively imagining all the many ways that things could flop instead of doing all you can to ensure that they don’t. This can come in many forms, but the most common is self-sabotage. Perhaps, you should make today the day you stop asking “What if” and finally do that thing that has scared you for so long.

3. Did you set specific goals?

When you wrote down your New Year resolutions, did you have a specific goal for each item on the list or you left things to chance? It is likely that you have been running away from your obligations because you don’t have any concrete plans to hold on to. For instance, if one of your resolutions was to eat healthier, it is as vague as they come. You should instead pen down all the specific ways that this can be achieved, like creating a new meal plan or learning new healthy food recipes. This way, you can check in with yourself week on week to see how you are doing. When you set specific goals, you are more accountable for them. And, although, you may never get it right immediately, start first.

4. Was there a replacement for that bad habit you planned to quit? 

If your New Year resolutions involved quitting one vice or the other and you didn’t have a backup plan, it was doomed to fail from the start. Say, for instance, you planned to quit smoking. Ask yourself why you do it and what healthier alternative you can replace it with. For every bad habit, you are trying to quit, you need a replacement to help you get cope and better your lifestyle at the same time.

5. Have you been thinking in don’ts instead of dos?

According to a psychology study, the reason most people default on their New Year resolutions is because they think in “negatives” rather than “positives.” For instance, your intent was to cultivate better friendships but your resolution was “Avoid toxic people.” Your mindset becomes naturally programmed to actively trying to avoid toxicity. What does this mean? You spend so much time thinking about this toxicity, the very thing you hoped to let go off. Rather, frame your goal in a more positive light, like: Cultivate healthier and better friendships. This will go a long way in changing your outlook and helping you make progress.

 

If you have answered all 5 questions and are guilty of one or more of them, it is a good day to try again in this never-ending journey of self-discovery. Goodluck and Namaste. 

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