7 Mistakes people make in setting New Year's Resolutions

And how to avoid them so you can finally keep yours

Man lying on the ground at New Year's Eve party
Reggie Casagrande/Photolibrary/Getty Images

As another year wraps up and a new one begins, you may be saying to yourself that this year will be different. A new calendar, new opportunity to start fresh, and of course, new resolutions. To be sure that you set and keep your resolutions this year, avoid falling into the trap of making these seven common mistakes when it comes to creating New Year's Resolutions.

1. Creating goals that are too big

There is nothing wrong with setting big goals, but it is important to be realistic. If you are struggling to run a ten minute mile right now and you expect to average four minute miles by the end of the year, you might be setting yourself up for failure. One of the rules for smart goal setting involves creating goals that are achievable. If you truly believe that you can achieve something, you will be more likely to go after it. 

2. Making resolutions that are too general

Did that holiday eating add a few extra pounds to your waistline that you would like to lose? Be careful not to set the resolution of just "losing weight," and be clear about exactly how much weight you would like to lose. When you create goals that are specific and measurable, they become a lot easier to achieve. 

3. Being a perfectionist

Perhaps you have been there: You set out to do something consistently whether it is exercising or eating better, you mess up, and then give up all together.

Instead of being rigid when it comes to keeping your resolutions and giving up all together if you do not get it perfect, be flexible with yourself. Recognize that you are human, that you make mistakes, and be as consistent as possible with whatever you need to do despite maybe not getting it right 100% of the time.

4. Giving up too soon

You know what they say about gyms being full of people the first week of January and then clearing out by February? People give up on achieving their goals too soon. Sticking to any new behavior that is not yet habitual can be challenging. Habits take weeks of practice and consistency to stick. Do not give up on your resolution before the habit has even had a chance to form. The first few weeks could be the hardest. Once you have it stuck as a part of your routine, it will hopefully be a new habit that is there to stay.

5. Not believing in yourself

This could be the biggest source of failure of all time, whether it is about achieving a New Year's Resolution or any kind of goal that you set. You have to believe in yourself that you can accomplish what you set out to achieve, otherwise, there is little point in going after it.

6. Not having any accountability

As independent as we might like to think we are, we are more interconnected than anything else. We are social animals, and public accountability can make a big difference.

Whether you select a few close friends to tell your resolutions to or make a public broadcast about them, the accountability factor from others can help you stay accountable to yourself.

7. Forgetting why you made the resolution in the first place

What is the point of keeping a new habit if you lose touch with your big why behind it? Many people fail to keep resolutions simply because they forgot the reason why they created them in the first place. You can avoid this mistake by reminding yourself of the reason why you came up with this resolution on a regular basis. Keep an image of what you are going after in your imagination, and you will be more likely to stick to your resolution.

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