The Romans started each year with promises to the God Janus, who January is named after. It is fitting that Janus is the god of beginnings and endings, because January is usually when our New Years resolutions start – and end! According to research, though 52% of us are confident that we’ll be successful but 88% of resolutions fail, and fail fast.
Why do you fail?
Nearly 1/3 goals don’t get achieved because the goal itself is unrealistic. 1/10 people say that they make too many goals and the task feels unachievable.
Forgetting About It
1/3 people don’t keep track of their goals and 23% of people forget about their goals altogether.
The 48% of people who aren’t confident they will be successful are much more likely to fail. A huge amount of evidence has shown that your belief in your ability to succeed predicts whether you are motivated to try.
Going It Alone
Humans are social animals, this is where we get more of our positive feedback and how our brains determine whether are activities are worth their while. Going it alone makes you much more likely to fail.
How to improve your chances:
Making sure your goals are achievable is important. But it’s equally important that your goals are well, important. You need to choose things that have value to you, and then imagine yourself succeeding in achieving your goal and then imagine yourself failing. These visions of victory and defeat will drive you onward!
We forget about things when we don’t have reminders. This is why it’s important to break your task into smaller steps and plan when you want to achieve them by. The dates, or times you want to achieve these sub tasks will act as reminders to you, as well as improving your self belief as you achieve each sub task.
The key thing here is self-compassion. You will fail. Self-improvement comes from continually getting back on the horse. If you succumb to the cigarettes one weekend and you tell yourself you’re a scumbag for days you simply won’t have the self-belief to give up in future. Relapse is a part of recovery.
If self-belief is hindering you getting started, I find this trick useful – do the smallest amount of your task you can possibly do. Run around the block. Then if you really want to, you get to go home and you are not allowed to be horrible to yourself. What happens is, 9/10 once you’re out you carry on running.
Involve Other People
There is a reason people join running groups. It’s not just for human company, it’s also someone to notice when you’re not there. Commitment to other people, healthy competition and social bonding are huge motivators.
Self-improvement narratives are useful, because they turn failures into a learning experience. Every time you lapse or take a week off, ask why, and how you can do better next time.
From all at Valleys Steps, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – all the best with your New Year’s Resolutions!
By Josh Elton, Valleys Steps course practitioner.