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How I Bombed My New Year’s Resolutions and Still Had an Amazing Year

Despite the reportedly high failure rate, I still make it a habit to set new year’s resolutions every year. Last year was no different.

2016 Resolutions

I only achieved 50% of my resolutions (though I removed one resolution entirely, so does that make it 60%?)

3 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

As I reviewed my new year’s resolutions, I found that they had a few things in common that probably kept me from achieving them.

1. Not Checking In

#NewYearsResolutions are not slow-cooker meals - you can't set it and forget it. Click To Tweet

Often times, we declare our new year’s resolutions drunkenly at a party, and are too busy nursing our champagne hangover the next day to remember what they actually were. Sometimes we’re lucky and we’ve written them down somewhere, but often it’s in the “January” section of our notebook or planner, and we simply don’t think to flip back and look at it in June.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that even though my Volt Planner prompted me to check in on my new year’s resolutions every week, somehow I just thought that they’d magically manifest themselves instead of remembering them and doing something about them.

This is where my next point comes in.

2. Not Having a Plan

Even though I checked in on my resolutions every week, it didn’t really prompt me to do anything different about buying a house, or getting more sleep because a part of me thought, “Ah, well, I still have until December 31 for it to happen.”

Compare that to my resolution of using social media more, where I broke it down into milestones – set up a social media calendar, hire a business coach, making a point to interact and comment instead of simply sharing. At the end of the year, when I saw that I’d checked off my three milestones, I couldn’t help but check off that I achieved my resolution.

Instead of just leaving my resolutions at “buying a house” or “getting more sleep”, perhaps I could have set milestones, like looking at a certain number of houses per month, or working on a bedtime routine. Or perhaps I could have Or perhaps that wouldn’t have worked either, because…

3. Not Accounting for Real Life

…Life happens. I really wanted to win my Muay Thai fight in March and then “retire” from fighting, but the other fighter was better that day. My husband and I have been wanting to buy a house since before we were married, but we just haven’t found the one we like, and we had to put our house hunt on hold for a few months while my husband was between jobs. I’ve been wanting to get more sleep my entire adult life, and for the past month or so, since I turned 30, I’ve really noticed the impact. But it’s hard when everyone else in your household is a night owl. (OK, that is more of an excuse – I really should just go to bed before everyone else instead of staying up with them.)

You get the point. We get overly optimistic about what we have control over, like our weight, health or other people in our lives, and we get upset and blame ourselves when things don’t work out the way that we want them to, when really, it has very little to do with us.
We blame ourselves when things don't work out, even when we have little control. Click To Tweet

Why I’m Not Disappointed that My New Year’s Resolutions Failed (and Why I Keep Setting Them Anyway)

If I measured how “successful” my year was based on my new year’s resolutions alone, then it would look like I didn’t have a great year. And with all the celebrity deaths, Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump, 2016 was not great for many.

Still, I would say that I had a pretty good year – my business had its most profitable year yet (thank you!), I went on an amazing trip to Japan, I turned 30, and I subconsciously over the course of the year surrounded myself with people and ideas that have made me more present, open-minded and grateful.

I still enjoy using this time to reflect on the past year and plan the year ahead (I mean, a 50-60% success rate isn’t that bad), while keeping these points in mind:

  • Your new year’s resolutions have nothing to do with your success or happiness. It’s just a target to help you move forward. Whether you feel successful or happy (or unsuccessful or sad) is really just based on how you react to different moments.
  • It’s OK to move the goal posts or abandon a resolution altogether.
  • It’s only a failure if you fail to learn.

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