Why you keep failing to achieve your resolutions and what you can do to change

January 18, 2018


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – Raise your hand if you made New Year resolutions at the start of the month. Keep your hand raised if you are still pursuing those resolutions eighteen days later.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and embracing financial discipline consistently rank at the top of New Year resolutions across the globe.

Market research consultancy group ComRes Global in a survey found exercising more to be the most popular resolution at 38 percent, followed by losing weight at 33 percent while healthy eating – linked to losing weight – came third at 32 percent.

In Kenya, however, the top resolutions slightly deviate from the global trend.

According to an Ipsos Kenya survey released earlier this month, saving more money is the most popular resolution at 17 percent, followed by buy or building a house at 16 percent and getting a job at third place.

Other aspirations that Kenyans hope to achieve in 2018 include; getting married, cultivating a closer relationship with God and keeping in good shape.

Available data, however, illustrate that many resolutions are not kept. In fact, time management consultant Franklin Covey in a 2007 study found that 4 out 5 people who make resolutions eventually break them, while a third do not even make it to the end of January.

So why is it that these ambitious promises of bettering ourselves always seem to fail?

Destiny Life Coaching Life Coach Jeff Nthiwa says lack of commitment is one of the biggest reasons why resolutions fail.

“You get someone making a resolution to lose weight but they are not willing to be committed to the goal. This makes the resolution another item on your wish list,” Nthiwa said.

Caroline Gaithuma, also a Life Coach, adds that a wrong mindset is also to blame.

“Let’s take the instance of someone who wants to lose weight. If the mindset is still the same then the goal will be unachievable. They may write on paper that they want to lose weight but if they walk around saying they hate eating healthy and do not like exercising, then without a doubt they are bound to fail.”

A majority of resolutions also fail because there is no clear path on how to execute the resolution.

According to Nthiwa, many people set resolutions without having a clear plan on how to execute those goals which means the resolutions ultimately fail.

Gaithuma also says resolutions fail because of lack of daily rituals, which she says is important if a goal is to be achieved.

For instance, for those who want to save more money, the person needs to get into the daily habit of cutting spending costs as much as they can and putting the spared money away for saving purposes.

“Daily rituals appeal to all types of resolutions. You cannot say you want to better your relationship with your family members but never have time for them. You need to create ways of being with them daily to achieve that.”

Having too many resolutions is also a recipe for failure with most people overwhelmed by a long list of do’s and don’ts.

Gaithuma adds that people making resolutions need to evaluate their reasons for making resolutions. From what place are these coming from? Is it from peer pressure? Is it as a result of societal pressure?

“Unless a resolution is straight from the heart and a deep longing to have things change, then one cannot meet their goals. You need to ensure that you are deeply interested in meeting that goal by ensuring that the focus is on making the resolution a journey but not a destination. If you make it a destination, then the changes will not be long lasting, which will set you up for failure,” Gaithuma said.

Nthiwa also urged people who are interested in making New Year resolutions to ensure they treat them as non-negotiable, instead of negotiable.

“Note that people hardly understand what a resolution is. A resolution leaves no room for failure or backing out. Most people make wishes instead of resolutions. Resolutions have an ‘I must achieve attitude’; while wishes have ‘I wish I could achieve attitude’. Resolutions leave no room for failure.”

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