5 Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Won’t Stick

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Hey, YOU.

Yeah, you.

It’s January, have you made your New Year’s Resolutions?

Did you vow to workout 4 days a week?

Plan to stick to a diet?

Promise not to lie, cheat or gossip?

Did you write them down like all the research tells you to do?

Did you post them on Facebook so your friends can see?

Did you even make a vision board?

Did you buy new sneakers and a new Lululemon outtift?

That’s great, but I hate to tell you this…despite your good intentions, chances are, you probably won’t stick to them.


That was the sound of me bursting your bubble, as I’m sure it stung a little.  The truth has a the tendency to do that.

However, I say these things and I’m in your face more so than usual, not to make you feel bad or discourage you, but rather to get your ATTENTION and to help you avoid the unnecessary feelings of guilt and disappointment that typically accompanies the hard fall of the bandwagon.

Working as a professional trainer and nutrition coach for over 7 years, I have seen the phenomena of the New Year’s rush and can pick with scary accuracy the gym members who’ll make it past February.  I’ve seen clients come and go, I’ve seen the eagerness and initial surge and I’ve seen the fire die out and the excuses pile up.

Over the years of working with clients, and seeing even my own setbacks and failed attempts of change, I’ve found some underlying factors that seem to be present in those that accomplish their goals, and conversely, the factors that are lacking in those that do not real their goals.

To break it down simply, I’ve reduced the thousands of reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick down to 5.  These are the main reasons I have found that New Year’s Resolutions, or any goal setting for that matter don’t work.  One of my main philosophies when it comes to fitness, nutrition and life, is to make things as effective as possible.  Take the time to set the foundation right the first time, so you don’t have to take steps back.

“Measure twice, cut once”.

And when it comes to goal setting, having the right foundation is vital to actually accomplishing your goals.  So, if you planned New Year’s Resolutions, don’t fear, it is not too late.  Read the following reasons and go back to your goals and see if you need to make any tweaks.  Before you go crazy and take SPIN and Zumba 5 days a week, check to make sure that you have a solid foundation to build upon.

Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Won’t Stick

Reason 1:  You don’t have a good enough reason.

What I mean by this is that you don’t have a deep, burning, passionate reason as to why you want to reach your goals.  Yeah it may be nice to want to lose 10 lbs., but WHY do you want to lose 10 lbs.?

What is your main motivation?  What is driving you?  What is going to keep you going when you’re feeling down, discouraged or unmotivated?

You HAVE to have a that deep, emotional burning desire.  If you don’t, it’s not worth it.  And if you don’t, you probably don’t really want it.

Losing 10 lbs. just to lose 10 lbs. isn’t good enough.  Losing 10 lbs. so that you don’t have to buy new work clothes every year and charge thousands of dollars on your credit card that puts you in debt and prevents you from owning your home, and keeps you living with roommates who party all night and don’t take out the trash and leaves you with the dishes, is a much more compelling reason.

Reason 2.  Your goals are dumb.

As in the sense they are not SMART.  I used to think that this was a silly acronym that life coaches and motivational speakers would beat to death, until I actually practiced it.  Holy crap, you’d be surprised how effective setting SMART goals are compared to just setting goals.  Here’s what SMART stands for:

S = Specific.

Want to workout?  How many times a week? A month?  Which classes?  Which instructor?  Be super specific.

M = Measureable.

You have to be able to measure this.  Being “fit” isn’t measurable.  Doing 5 unassisted pull-ups, is.  Being more “toned”, isn’t measurable.  Losing 5% body fat, is.

A = Attainable.

This is something you actually have to be able to attain.  You should be able to answer without hesitation, “How is this goal going to be accomplished?”

R = Relevant.

Meaning it has to have meaning to you.  I talk about this more later in Reason #3.

T = Timely

Set a deadline.  If your goal is to save more money this year, then come up with amount and and date as to when you’ll have that saved.  “I will have $2000 in my ING Savings Account by July 1st, 2012”.

Now, let’s take 2 very common goals and turn them into SMART goals.

Goal 1:  I want to get fit.

SMART Goal Equivalent: I want to be in the best shape of my life, even more when I was in college.  I will re-join my adult swim team, and in 9 months will complete the Tough Mudder Challenge and beat my time from 2009 by 2 minutes.

Goal 2:  I want to eat better.

SMART Goal Equivalent: By the end of 2012, I will have developed a stronger and more loving relationship with food and my body, and will no longer need to binge on the weekends or holidays.  I will allow myself to eat the foods I enjoy on occasion and plan to stick to a meal plan designed by a holistic nutritionist, 80% of the time.  I am free to indulge the other 20% and will not feel guilty.  I plan to do this by starting to pack my own lunch to work Monday – Friday for the entire month of January.  That means I will be brining 25 lunches with me for the month.

3.  Your goals don’t line up with your core values.

This is motherf’ing huge!!!  So huge that it requires 3 exclamation points and a bad word, which I will very rarely use in blogs.

Why is this important?

Well, if you are setting goals that are not in line with your values, then what are you basing them off of?  Somebody else’s expectations?  Society’s expectations?  The media’s expectations?

If you are setting goals based around external sources, you will never truly feel satisfied with your accomplishments, and chances are, you may never reach those goals because the Universe knows, you don’t really want them.

True satisfaction comes when you are doing things and accomplishing things that are in lined with what you want.  When you set goals based off other people’s expectations you can’t create that deep burning desire we talked about earlier.

If you don’t really care to have a fancy car, but all your friends do, so you feel compelled to own an Audi, then your goals of making money to own said car is based around external sources.  Yeah you might be able to reach your financial goals and own a nice car, but will it deeply satisfy you?

Perhaps making money is important to you, not because you want fancy things, but because you want more freedom, and time to spend with your family.  If spending time with your family is one of your core values, than you will never run out of motivation to reach financial freedom.  You will do whatever it takes, because that is what you truly want.

The first step here, before even making goals, is to figure out what your core values are.  What 3-5 things in your life are the most important to you?  Is it your health?  Your family?  Being an honest person?

Spend some time here to evaluate and soul search.  Figure out what kind of person you want to be, and what values you want this person to have.  From here, achieving goals will be a cinch, and life will become a hell of a lot easier.

4.  You don’t have the right support.

You can’t go at it alone.  Even the most successful coaches have coaches.  Heck, even I have a coach.

2 actually. Phyl London my pilates instructor and John Romaniello, my business coach.  I talk about these 2 a lot because they have helped make me a better trainer, coach and person.  Yes it costs me thousands of dollars to invest in their support, but it has paid off tremendously.  I could not be as successful as I am as a trainer and coach if it was not for their support and coaching.

If you’re serious about reaching a certain goal, find someone who’s done what you’ve done, and hire them to help you.  If you’re looking to get in the most incredible shape of your life, find a highly recommended trainer in your area, and work with him/her.  If you are interested in starting a business, find someone in your niche who is doing what you are doing, and pay them to coach you.

Another great source of support, which is also free by the way unless you have some really stingy people in your life, are your friends, family and social networks.  Get these people involved in your goals and ask for their support.  This could mean finding a workout buddy, or involving your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/mistress/what-have you, in your new habits.

We all need cheerleaders to tell us we’re awesome, and good friends to give us high-fives when need it.

5. You’ve given up too easily or you’re afraid of failure.

After reading all this, its not fair to say that you reaching your goals is going to be a cake walk.  That just isn’t true.  It’s going to be hard at times.  You’re going to feel frustrated, and disappointed when things do not fall together so easily.  But whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP.  Keep pushing through and stay focused.

This is why having a strong foundation, like making sure your goals line up with your values, is so so so important.  Because when you do hit road-bloacks or setbacks, which I assure you, you will, you will need a burning desire, a good enough reason, strong core values and supportive friends to keep you going.

Having set backs is a good thing, as it teaches you ways how NOT to do them.  The most important thing here, is that you do not let it hold you back NO MATTER WHAT.

That being said, what are your New Year’s Resolutions?  And tell us, how do you plan to reach them based off what you read here?

Leave us your feedback in the comments below.

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