The New Year’s Resolution Trap is real, and it gets us all every single year. A new year means a new start, another chance to set goals and aims for the year ahead. We’ll promise to be better, more diligent, and more focused.

Let me guess. You probably said, “this year is going to be different” before, didn’t you? It turned out that New Year’s is just another day, and you forgot about your resolutions almost right away. This year won’t be any different! Sound familiar?

It’s the feeling that you should wait for January 1st to make a positive change in your life—because if not then, then when? In reality, though, there’s no reason to wait until January 1st (or any other date) to start working towards the goals that matter most to you. So let’s get started with how to avoid falling into this trap!

Don’t wait until January 1st.

One of the biggest pitfalls of New Year’s Resolutions is waiting until January 1st to start a new habit. If you’re like me, you’ll wait until the last minute and then try to cram all of your goals into those few days. This causes stress and disappointment because it can be hard to meet all of your resolutions at once, especially if they require a change in more than one area (like eating healthier and exercising).

Instead, try starting your resolutions as soon as possible—even if it’s before December 31st! The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results. And don’t forget: The longer you wait to start something new after making a resolution, the harder it will be for you when that time comes!

Writing down your goals can help avoid new year’s resolution traps

Write it down.

To avoid the New Year’s Resolution Trap, you must write down your goals. This can be a simple list of bullet points or a more formal outline.

  • Write down your goal: “Finish the novel by December 31st”
  • Write down your reasons for wanting to achieve it: “My career depends on it. If my first book doesn’t sell well, I won’t be able to continue publishing novels or make money from writing at all. I also want to prove myself as an author and show that I can meet deadlines and create high-quality work. If this goal isn’t reached by the end of 2019, there will be no way for me to achieve these other goals!”
  • Write down the steps you will take in order to reach this goal: “1) Get new story ideas; 2) Research genre conventions; 3) Decide which characters are needed for each story arc (and create them); 4) Start drafting novel chapters 1-5; 5) Read overdrafts one through five until they’re ready.”

Break down your goals into small achievable steps.

Breaking down your goals into small, achievable steps is a great way to stay focused and motivated. A goal can feel overwhelming and intimidating if it’s too big and complex. When you break down a goal into smaller parts, it feels more manageable, which will motivate you to keep going. F

or example, if your goal is to lose weight, instead of saying you’re going to lose 20 pounds by January 2nd, break it down into smaller chunks. For example, instead of saying “I will lose 20 pounds by January 2nd” try saying “I will lose 1 pound per week for 4 weeks starting today”.

Breaking down your goals into small achievable steps it will make them much more manageable and less overwhelming! This also gives you an opportunity to celebrate each milestone along the way!

Find a way to track your progress.

Once you’ve set your goals and taken a few days to develop a plan of action, it’s time to get down to business. And one of the best ways to stay on track is by tracking your progress. This can be as simple as writing down what you did each day in a journal or spreadsheet, or it could mean using an app like Lift (the Weight Watchers app) or Fitbit that tracks how many steps you take each day. Either way, having some sort of record will help keep you accountable for what you achieve—and prevent New Year’s Resolution failure from happening again next year!

If tracking in your head sounds good enough for now…you may want to reconsider that approach at some point down the road. It really does work better if there are actual numbers attached to those mental tallies than just “I ran two miles today.”

Stop focusing on the outcome and put the emphasis on process and learning.

Focus on the process, not the outcome. When you make resolutions and set goals, the emphasis is often on the end result and what you have to do to achieve it. But that can lead to a tendency to focus too much on short-term results and neglect the journey in between. Instead of judging your success or failure by whether or not you achieve your desired outcome, try focusing more on what you learn along the way.

This is especially important when it comes to failure—but don’t worry! Failure can be an opportunity for growth instead of something that holds us back from making progress. If we learn from our mistakes, they become part of our story—and if we view them as something negative rather than positive, we’re missing out on an opportunity for personal growth and improvement!

When you’re feeling unmotivated, remember why this goal is important to you. Take five minutes to write down your reasons and pull them out when you need them. If a friend or family member asks about your goals, don’t be shy about sharing your list with them! The more people who are aware of what you’re trying to accomplish, the more likely it is that someone will remind you if they see a slip-up in your behaviour.

Hire a Health and Fitness Coach

New Year’s resolutions are a time-honoured tradition – and one that we all fall for every year. But it’s also true that most of us don’t succeed at achieving our goals. According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of people successfully achieve their goals. The rest give up within the first six months.

This year, don’t fall into the trap of setting unrealistic resolutions that you can’t keep. If you’re serious about getting healthy, hiring a coach can help you stay on track. A good coach will set goals with you and help you develop a plan to achieve them. Contact Rita today to start your new year journey.

We hope that these tips will help you to avoid the New Year’s Resolution trap. Remember, your goals are not set in stone and can always be adjusted as you learn more about yourself and your life. The important thing is that you don’t lose sight of what’s important to you—even if there are times when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

You don’t need the extra pressure that comes from waiting for the new year to begin a positive new change in your life. You can start right now, today!