3 Reasons You Didn’t Keep Last Year’s Resolutions and This Year’s Are Looking Iffy

new years resolution

You had the best of intentions, didn’t you?

You were going to lose weight. You were going make more money. You were going to be nicer to animals and small children.

In 2012 you were, finally, at long last, going to get back in shape, turn your life around and be a plain, all around better person.

So how’d that work out for you?

If you’re like most people, not so well.

Humans are are horrible at predicting what we think we want, what we think will make us happy. And we’re even worse at making the necessary changes in our lives to help our resolutions last past Super Bowl Sunday.

Here’s 3 common mistakes.

1) You Made A Wishlist Instead of a To Do List

You wanna lose weight. Get a better job. Be nicer to your kids. Drink less. Exercise more.

But those aren’t resolutions. That’s a shopping list.

It’s like we opened up the Toys R Us Sale Flyer and picked out all the perfect accessories for The New And Improved ME DOLL, now with Kung Fu Grip.

We Want to be be better than we are. Thinner. Richer. Happier. More This. Less That. Better.

That’s the easy part. Wanting it.

We think we know what we want. We can make a list.

What we don’t do for the most part is RESOLVE to do what it takes to get there.

We’re waiting for the New Job Fairy to come bring us an exciting new adventure amd a couple of bucks under the pillow. We’re waiting for the Cellulite Bunny to come wiggle his nose and take an extra 15 to 20 pounds of lard off our round mound of rebound.

But, deep down inside, we all know there is no New Job Fairy and the Cellulite Bunnies are long since extinct.

The only way any of those things are going to happen is if we make them happen.

So get your dead ass up and make them happen.

Resolve now to take the actions necessary to bring about the changes you want to see in your life.

Wanna lose weight? Resolve to Exercise More and Eat Less. Resolve to kick your addiction to sugar in all its forms.

Wanna Make More Money? Work Harder. Send Out More Resumes. Call More Customers. Knock on More Doors.

Quit trying to manage results and start thinking about managing activity.

Wanting to take action and actually getting up off the couch and taking action aren’t the same thing at all. If last years resolutions were at the beach on vacation LONG before you were ready for swim suit season, maybe its because

2) You Weren’t Specific

The Human brain doesn’t respond to generalities. I’m sure you had every intention of exercising more and eating less, but you can’t check that off a To Do list.

If you resolve to walk 45 minutes a day, make 10 cold calls before lunch, Go To Church Every Sunday or Eat 40 grams of protein every day before you leave the house, those are activities that you can cross off a list.

What are you going to do? When are you going to do it? How long are you going to do it for?

What gets measured gets managed.

You can make a spread sheet with bar charts to track your progress or download any of the 8 gazillion apps designed to help you manage your activities.

Cconcentrate on specific actions that get stuck in your head, nagging away, you until you have to get up and do those 77 crunches you promised yourself.

But a year is a long, long time. Last years NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS failed because

3) You Bit Off More Than You Could Chew…

Nobody wants to think about a whole year of trudging 45 minutes a day in the slow and the sleet and rain and the wind and then the summer heat and then the snow and the sludge again next winter.

No wonder we say “Screw It” after a couple of weeks and go back to eating Oreos and watching the Bachelor on DVR.

And who wants to give up sugar for a whole year. I mean, that stuff is more addictive than crack. The company that makes Twinkies declared bankruptcy and we went into a state of national shock. We were buying Twinkies on Ebay for a thousand bucks a box and hoarding them like the zombies were coming to take them away from us.

We like our sugar.

And if you try to tell your brain that it can’t have any sugar or chocolate or booze or nicotene or anything else it really likes for a whole year, it’s going to rebel and go back to the way things were. Your brain doesn’t like change any more than you do

Behavioral psychologists argue about how long it takes to form a new habit, or change an old one. The conventional wisdom says 21 days. Some argue for longer habit gestation periods of 30, even 60 days.

So think about making specific actionable resolutions that you can do right now long enough for the habit to become engrained. Long enough for it to become a way of life.

Let’s split the difference and shoot for a month.

A month long resolution gets you deep into new habit territory and then lets you adjust your resolutions for February to take it to the next level, or in the worst case scenario, start all over again.

Otherwise, you’ll just be waiting til New Year’s Day 2014 to start becoming a better person again.

So how about it? What are your specific, actionable resolutions for January?

As for me, I’m walking/running a 5k a day, Making 10 cold calls before lunch and writing for an hour a night before bed all month long.

Here’s to me and here’s to you. Let’s get it done.

Happy New Year.