The first time I came across an explanation of why new year’s resolutions usually don’t work, it was through the high-performance coach Brendon Burchard. You will have to forgive me as I cannot remember the Podcast (I am 90% sure he was a guest on the Rise Podcast by Rachel Hollis). Still, the thing that immediately clicked for me was his explanation of how we are usually seeing new year resolutions all wrong.
He went to describe that we usually set up our plans for the year ahead based on our failures from last year. If we write down “lose weight” or “get fit,” it is because we didn’t accomplish that previous year. If we want to “start a savings account,” it is because we don´t have any money saved up right now. Am I right? So, go right now and take a look at your resolutions for 2020, and let me know: are they based on what you didn’t accomplish in 2019?
If the answer is yes, welcome to the club.
But the thing is, we are creating our blueprint for 2020 based on our past failures. If we get to December 2020 and we got to check off the list all our resolutions, that only means we managed to catch up with what we had planned for the year before. That means we are one whole year behind.
And who wants to spend their time making up for past failures? No one. That’s one of the reasons we usually bailed on our January resolutions, they are a constant reminder of what went wrong before.
Another reason why trying to fix what went wrong is a sure way to bailing on the task is because of our brains. I had researched this topic extensively as part of my change management Bootcamp, and the reasons are fascinating (if you are a nerd, like me at least)
Our brains are up there to ensure we survive. When we create a plan based on a negative emotion (such as I sucked at this in 2019, so I better avoid being such a loser at it in 2020), our brain interprets this as an “alarm signal” and immediately puts its “survival mode on.” But since we are not in real danger, besides being an easy prey to our limiting beliefs, our brain will scan our surroundings after a while and will go back to be its regular self. It will be like, “Oh, I guess we didn’t die, so let’s go back to our habits where it’s safe and cozy.” That’s when our motivation abandons us. And when we lose focus on our initial goals.
And in case I have not convinced you just yet, here’s a third reason why your new year’s resolutions won’t work. You probably are hoping you will achieve your resolutions, but you don’t have a plan. Please, you know I care for you, but friend, hope should never ever be your action plan.
I have studied success habits from a lot of coaches around the world. And while they all have their different styles when it comes to making plans, what they have in common is that all have clear goals and had broken them down in actionable steps that allow them to reverse engineer their big kick-ass goal into actions that they implement each day. Yes, each damn day. More on how to achieve that over the next articles
Let’s wrap up for now with the key takeaways I want you to remember from this post:
Hoping that you will get there is not a plan, is wishful thinking that won’t get you anywhere
Creating a plan based on negative emotions is likely to get trashed
A constant reminder of what went wrong will get you depressed, not motivated
I hope this helps you stay on track, and remember, your best version of yourself is waiting for you.
See you soon,