The #1 New Year’s Resolution Mistake

It is estimated that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. 

Let me guess — You want to lose weight in 2019, or maybe just eat healthier. Perhaps you want to spend less money or spend more time with your friends and family.

I know I do!

The desire for self-improvement is a shared hobby for most of us — the human brain is naturally drawn to wanting to improve on some level. It’s why so many of us—some estimates say more than 40% of Americans—make New Year’s resolutions.

But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. There’s even an actual clinical psychology term for the cycle of repeated failed attempts to change ourselves: False Hope Syndrome, and it’s especially common for people who are trying to lose weight.

Why do so many people fail at goal-setting, and what are the secrets behind those who succeed? It really comes down to how the brain works and how you set your environment up to help you succeed.

#1 Reason 92% of people fail…

Self-sabotage.

People have good intentions — great intentions — yet they struggle with staying consistent and committed to what they resolve that they will do. Yes, it is important to make specific, written goals. Yes, it important to not give up too quickly and to have willpower to push through when the going gets tough. But, even those driven people who take the time to create specific goals can struggle with the sticking power of getting done what you say you are going to get done.

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What it really comes down to is the underlying factors, thoughts, beliefs, and systems that you currently have set up. They can make or break your success.

The 3 Key Parts To Self-Sabotage 

  1. Failing to Deal With Emotional Issues That Sabotage Success. Some people are unsuccessful in their change efforts because they need to address the emotional or psychological issues that drive their unhealthy behavior. Emotional eating or beliefs about certain foods can create inner tug-of-wars that are way stronger than any dose of willpower can possibly handle. Many people find that a good coach or counselor can help them overcome this barrier to change.
  2. Failing to Surround Yourself With Social Support & Identifying Healthy Role Models. Believing in your ability to do the things necessary for change is critical to your success. This is called self-efficacy. Research on self-efficacy tells us that key to this is social support (cheerleaders and people that will positively hold us accountable) and role models (people like yourself that have successfully achieved similar goals). There is a reason that you are more successful when you choose to make changes with a group of friends or with your spouse. Surround yourself with healthy role models and cheerleaders for your change.
  3. Failing to Address Your Immediate Environment That Sabotage Success. It can be hard to change your behavior without also changing your environment. You can boost your willpower by avoiding the situations and people that “trigger” the behavior you want to change (i.e, not having lunch with that friend who just has to eat dessert with you and keeping your house free of your trigger junk foods). Avoid or ignore people that ridicule or sabotage your change. Clear your pantry of the foods you want to stop eating.  Change your route to/from work so that you don’t find your car taking you to your favorite doughnut shop, etc.

This year, I challenge you to not only write down your New Year’s goals, but to work through these 3 common self-sabotaging behaviors. These can help you be part of that 8% in 2019!


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