Why 92% of Goals Fail – What to do Instead

Why 92% of Goals Fail – What to do Instead

With a New Year, most likely you will hear the common phrase, ‘New Year, New Me’. This highlights that so many of us set about creating some major changes in our lives come every January; things like eating healthier, stopping binge eating or exercising more. Yet, 92% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolution. Yes, that is a whopping 92% of goals fail to get across the line!

Why does this happen when you start out with so much determination in January? Here are three (3) key reasons which explain why so many New Year Resolutions fail and goals fail.

3 Reasons Goals Fail

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#1 – You Are Focused on Results Instead of the Why

The main reason why you fail to stick to new behaviours is because you try and achieve an outcome-based goal without identifying the behaviours and issues that need to be understood and changed first. For example, your current behaviours, such as binge eating or overeating, are simply a reflection of other issues and behaviours.

Therefore, the recipe for sustained goal success is to start with small wins in improving the behaviours that lead to you binge eating or overeating in the evening. For example, your goal would be to start eating three (3), regular, healthy meals a day. Once you are able to sustain this goal, you can move to the next goal.

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#2 – You Haven’t Set Up Accountability Structures

Achieving an important goal does not happen overnight. Big changes require sustained and consistent action, which is very difficult to achieve on your own. Typically, the bigger the goal, such as breaking food addiction, the more important it is to have outside accountability support.

No matter the goal, developing a support system to provide you with accountability, motivation and guidance, is essential. Coaches, mentors or counsellors are important to provide you with the new knowledge and skills required to overcome the obstacles and challenges, along the journey.

#3 – Your Goal is Outside of Your Control

If you want to lose weight, your goal may be to lose 20 kilos. However, this is not all within your control. There could be various outside factors influencing your ability to achieve your goals.

For example, hitting the weight loss plateau, slowed metabolism, contributing medications or medical problems. So, when the weight stops dropping off, it can be very easy to lose motivation or even give up altogether. Therefore, it is important to set identity-based, achievable goals instead.

For example, rather than losing 20 kilos, set the goal of becoming the type of person who starts eating regular, healthy meals, manages stress and engages in enjoyable activity multiple times per week. You could start small by focusing on eating a healthy breakfast and start doing fun 10-minute dance classes that you found on Youtube, at home. You set yourself up to move towards being the person you want to be every day by engaging in healthy habits.

Routines lead to greater success

As you can see, the main reason why New Year Resolutions and goals fail is the ‘way’ people go about trying to achieve them. It begs the question of the most effective way to bring about long-lasting change in your life.

Rather than, ‘New Year, New Me’, perhaps it would be more helpful to say, ‘New Year, Same Me – Better Version’. Part of the process to achieving the better version of you, is to use reflection. Reflecting back will allow you to celebrate and continue what is working and implement strategies to improve what isn’t. It will help you to approach important goals in a much more thoughtful, purposeful and sustainable way. For example:

New Year’s Resolution: I want to stop binge eating in 2021.

New Year’s Reflection:

It is important to be healthy for myself and my family and learn some new eating habits. I want to feel like I am nourishing my body to give me enough energy to play with my children. Therefore, I am setting the goal of learning some new family healthy dinner recipes that I can cook each night. I will then increase this to breakfast and lunch.

If you are wondering how to get started with New Year Reflections, below are some questions which will help you to identify what is important to you and what you need to put in place to help you reach your goals.

10 Reflection Questions to Help You Create a Better Version of You

  1. What was the biggest challenge I overcame this year?
  2. What did I learn about myself?
  3. What am I the proudest of in the last year?
  4. What did I enjoy doing the most in the past 12 months?
  5. Who do I want to become?
  6. What are my unresolved issues from the past 12 months?
  7. What do I want more of in my life?
  8. What do I want less of in my life?
  9. What do I need to stop doing?
  10. What will I do differently in the next 12 months?

Save yourself the frustration and disappointment of yet another failed goal-setting attempt and work on starting reflections which you can use to guide value-driven, achievable goals and habits. Reflecting back, thinking and building self-awareness will result in you creating long-lasting, sustainable changes in your life now and into the future.

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