PSA: You Can Hit Redo On Your Resolutions At Any Time
While on January 1st, you might have felt driven, excited and confident in your ability to smash a long list of goals, you may not be feeling quite as committed a few weeks on. If this is you, there’s no shame or failure in feeling this way. One study found that while 77% maintain their resolutions for one week, only 19% will have stuck with their goals two years on.
Even those who do stick to their resolutions drop the ball from time to time, with 53% of successful participants in the study reporting at least one slip up. So instead of kicking your goals to the curb, let’s dive into why you might have abandoned your resolutions, and how you can improve your ability to stay focused and determined, and achieve whatever you set your mind to. Spoiler alert: you don't need a new year to hit refresh on your goals!
Why do we give up on our goals?
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there are a few reasons many of us throw in the towel before reaching the finish line.
Over the years, the second Friday in January has become widely known as “Quitters Day”, or the day which many of us give up on the goals we set just two weeks earlier. So what are the most common reasons you might have abandoned your resolutions?
They take too long to achieveWe often favour instant gratification over slow, steady progress. If a goal seems to be taking longer than you anticipated, or you're not reaping the rewards of your hard work along the way, you might be inclined to give up altogether and choose what feels good and easy in the moment - even if it goes against your long-term aims.
But remember, discomfort and patience are required to create change. There will be times when it feels easier to give up on your goals, but if you can persist through these moments, this is where the change and growth occurs. After all, no one ever talked themselves fit.
You don’t believe you can do it
If you don’t truly believe you can achieve the goals you’ve set yourself, you’re more likely to quit somewhere along the way. For a lot of us, a lack of self-belief is what holds us back from achieving what we set out to. In the tough moments, those thoughts can start to creep in - I don’t think I can do this.
Feeling this way is very common and takes strength and courage to overcome. If this is something you struggle with, don’t beat yourself up - you’re definitely not alone! But investing some time into cultivating self-belief is so crucial here. We often don’t recognise what we’re truly capable of.
If you keep testing, challenging and surprising yourself by setting regular, small goals and proving you can achieve them, your confidence in yourself and what you are capable of will improve.
It’s a tricky process, but working on your self-belief is something that will reward you for months and years to come - and it can help you achieve your resolutions at the same time. If you truly believe you can do something, you’re much more able to commit the time, energy and effort required to make it happen!
You’re not flexible with your goals
If your goals are too rigid and you’re unwilling to adapt them, you could be setting yourself up for failure. It’s important to acknowledge that life happens. Things rarely go to plan or turn out as you anticipate. So it’s important to allow for some flexibility and adjustment when setting your goals.
Studies have shown setting flexible goals and being less attached to the outcome can help people achieve their resolutions and have better wellbeing overall. Those who were more flexible with their goals were able to adapt and act logically, calmly and rationally in the face of day-to-day challenges and hardship.
You’re aiming for what you think you should want, not what you necessarily do want
The more internal the motivation behind our goals, the more likely we are to succeed. However, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, many of these are externally driven.
We set resolutions largely because everyone else around us does, and often our goals mirror those of the people around us, or the expectations of ourselves or others on what we should be aiming for.
It’s also common to set goals that are externally motivated, meaning you are doing something to either gain or avoid something in return. If our goals are externally motivated, we’re more likely to abandon them when things get tough.
Instead, it can help to set goals you are internally motivated to achieve, meaning you are performing an activity because you enjoy it and find it rewarding, rather than only because you want to get something else out of it.
If you can tap into your inner motivation, determination and persistence, you’re far more likely to reach the end destination and enjoy the journey too. When it comes to fitness, choosing a workout style you truly enjoy doing is the perfect place to start.
You’re just repeating old goals
Do you find yourself setting the same resolutions year after year? Failing to achieve them, and then simply re-committing when a new year rolls around? When it comes to health-based resolutions, many of us commit to the same cyclical goals every year.
If you didn’t achieve your goal the first time, you might want to make some changes. Can you break your big goal down into smaller, more manageable and achievable tasks? For example, instead of resolving to “become fitter,” can you strive to complete a workout once per week for the first month, then two in the second, and so on, until you reach the level of fitness you’re aiming for?
For strength training goals, you could aim to lift 5 kgs heavier on your bench press and deadlift by the end of the year. That’s something you can work towards and achieve if you’re willing to do the work!
If your previous goals don’t excite you anymore, ditch them! Take some time to think about what direction you want to head in and come up with a brand new goal for yourself.
Why do we set New Year's resolutions at all?
You may be wondering, now that we’ve been all doom and gloom about how difficult it can be to stick to your resolutions, why bother in the first place? For some people, the New Year offers a clean slate and a great opportunity to reflect on where they’re heading and where they want to go. For others, the New Year isn’t an ideal goal-setting time, but there can be a lot of pressure to conform to doing so.
Find what works for YOU
Whether New Year’s resolutions work for you or not, know that it’s okay to set goals or recommit to your resolutions at any point in the year. You don’t need to wait for a new year, a new month or even a new week to begin a goal (or resume your efforts towards a forgotten resolution). You can set an intention or focus any time you like.
Whether you feel like you’ve already failed your 2023 resolutions, you’re experiencing the waning of motivation, your year didn’t get off to the best start, or you’re wondering why on earth you committed to the goals you did, it’s not too late! Reset, rethink your focus and priorities, and recommit to the direction you want to travel in 2023. There’s no rule book for goal setting and there’s nothing to say you have to set goals at a certain time and achieve them by a specific date.
So if you’re ready to re-establish your goals, and dive back into the pursuit of them, here are some tips for helping you stick it out, and achieve your end goal this time around.
Remember why you beganWhenever you’re struggling or lacking in motivation, return to your ‘why’. Did you want to feel better? Healthier? More confident? Chances are, this goal hasn’t changed - even if your motivation levels have! Why would you abandon the pursuit of something you truly want or something incredibly important to you? If you can keep your ‘why’ in mind, you’ll find yourself much better equipped to overcome obstacles and dips in motivation. Let your ‘why’ fuel you through the more challenging times.
Focus on how you want to feelAs we just mentioned, your ‘why’ should be emotion-based. Think about how you’ll feel when you achieve your goal. Instead of aiming for a certain outcome or material gain, remove the attachment and instead focus on the emotional side of things. Emotions are the most powerful drivers. If you can really tap into the joy, accomplishment, pride or freedom you’ll feel from achieving your goals, this will act as the best motivation of all.
Ask a friend or loved one for support and accountabilityNever feel like you have to work towards your goals alone. Sharing your goals with a friend or someone close to you can be so powerful. Not only can you ask them to hold you accountable during times it feels a little tough, but you could even ask them to get involved for an added dose of enjoyment and motivation! For example, if you’re aiming to complete three Sweat workouts per week, a workout buddy could be the perfect thing to keep you going. You can motivate each other, train together, and hold each other accountable to those three sessions, making you much more likely to achieve your goals - and have some fun along the way!
Identify where you went wrong in the past, and learn from itIf you’ve given up on your goals already, identify what happened to make you abandon your resolutions. Were your goals too challenging or unrealistic? Did you need more support from others? Were your goals based on what you want, or on what you think you should want? Did you need to be better prepared?
Whatever caused you to throw in the towel, learn from this. Use this as an opportunity to grow and better prepare yourself for the next time you set yourself a target - and take these learnings on board so you give yourself every chance of success in the future! Remember, just because you didn’t do it the first time, does NOT mean you can't do it at all!
Make a planNever has the saying, “Failing to prepare means preparing to fail” been more accurate than when it comes to setting goals. If you’re not willing to plan and prepare for how you’ll work towards your goals and targets, chances are you’ll never get there. For example, if you want to work on your fitness, simply hoping for the best will get you nowhere. A dream alone cannot make us strong, instead, you need to plan the necessary steps to make your goal a reality.
Joining the Sweat Community and using the Planner to schedule in your weekly workouts, finding yourself a workout partner, setting your alarm earlier three times a week to give you time to exercise… These are the sort of actions and planning required to make your goals possible! Planning is the key to success.
Set goals around what you truly want, not what you feel you should be aiming for
Again, make sure your goals centre around what YOU truly want for yourself and your life. The last thing you want to do is set resolutions that are dictated or influenced by external pressures or expectations. You’re far more likely to succeed if your goals are intrinsically motivated and truly important to you. If you really feel the desire to achieve them, you’ll be much more motivated, consistent and committed in the pursuit of your goals. Focus on what matters to you, not to the people around you.
Try Sweat's habit tracker
It's never too late to start, and big things happen when you do the little things right. Habit trackers are a simple but effective way to put the habits you want to keep down on paper and keep track of each time you tick off a task, and we've got you covered with our very own Sweat habit tracker.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.