We are already cruising through 2022, and now is often the time when many individuals stop to assess how their New Year’s resolutions are going. Although well-intentioned, by this time, most resolutions end up falling through the cracks. One reason is the simple fact that adopting healthier habits is not an easy task, and can take time – especially if the goal is to improve dietary choices.
As a dietitian, I have had hundreds of nutrition counseling sessions where I worked one-on-one with clients to help them set and achieve their goals. Along the way, I have picked up on a few common denominators that cause people to give up on their goals and feel defeated. If you’re currently nodding your head because you identify with this pattern, don’t lose hope! I am here to share five (5) reasons why individuals fall short and give you tips on how to set more attainable goals in the future.
Reasons Why Your Resolutions Fail
1. You set unrealistic expectations.
This is by far the most common mistake people make when setting goals. Let’s say currently you only do one boxing workout a week, but you set the goal of exercising five days a week. Although you may think it’s great to “aim for the stars,” setting unrealistic expectations for yourself will not take you far, and you may end up crashing down.
Here is another example – many people know they need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but setting the goal of eating 5 cups of fruits and veggies per day, when you’re currently eating zero, may not be the best approach. Instead, you should set small, realistic goals that you can achieve more easily. From there, you can continue to expand on your goal, or move on to a new goal. A better approach would be to go from doing a boxing workout once a week to three times a week and going from zero servings of fruits and vegetables to one or two servings per day.
2. You didn’t make a step-by-step plan.
Another common reason why resolutions don’t stick is that they are too vague and lack structure. Your resolution might be to “get in shape” or “spend more time with family” but you fail to address how you are going to get there. By setting measurable goals, you will be able to assess when you have met your goal and whether you are ready to take the next step. Think of it as a tall ladder – you can’t jump from the bottom to the top; you need to take one step at a time. The same applies to resolutions. You need to lay out multiple steps for how you are going to reach the finish line, and you must be able to meet one small goal at a time before working on the next goal. Additionally, it’s crucial that your plan is sustainable, meaning you can follow it for the long term.
For example, adopting an extremely restrictive diet for weight loss (we’re looking at you, 800-calorie diets) is not a smart nor sustainable plan. Instead, you can work on reducing your consumption of high-calorie, non-nutritious “junk” foods, while increasing your intake of fiber and nutrient-dense foods. Setting a step-by-step plan that you can sustain in the long term will make you more successful at achieving your ultimate goal.
3. You set too many goals.
Sure, it would be great to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, boxing train five days per week, reduce alcohol consumption, quit smoking, start your own company, develop a morning routine, and run a marathon. However, none of this will be accomplished if you don’t prioritize your goals and set measurable targets. Before setting your resolutions, take the time to reflect on what is most important to you, and what is the one goal you will work on first. Then, set small and achievable steps to get there. Only then, you can start working on a different goal.
Remember: You also have to dedicate your energy to your personal and professional life, and time is limited. Be realistic on how much you can achieve at a time.
4. You gave up once you hit a roadblock.
“Progress over perfection” is a great motto to live by. Setting resolutions is about improving aspects of your life or achieving a life-long dream. With that said, these things take time. Incorporating new habits requires time and patience; it is a journey. We continuously grow and improve, and there will certainly be obstacles along the way. You should always aim for growth, but you must be prepared to face challenges and accept that there will be days when you will not be as motivated, and that is OK. If you are mentally prepared to hit roadblocks, you will be able to identify an obstacle and think of reasonable ways to overcome it so that you can continue to work towards your goals without feeling defeated.
5. You put too much pressure on yourself.
The habits you are trying to change often took years to develop, so it is only natural that changing these habits or adopting new ones may take months or even years. That’s why patience will be your best virtue. It’s great when we can be our own cheerleaders but oftentimes, we are our harshest critics, and we can be too hard on ourselves. It’s important to identify when you are putting too much pressure on yourself so that you can take a step back and appreciate what you have accomplished so far while knowing that your goals are a work-in-progress. By being kind to yourself, you are able to accept that change is difficult, and sometimes you need to lower your expectations so that you can more successfully achieve these goals.
It’s Never Too Late To Start Again
If you’re reevaluating different aspects of your life and deciding what changes you want to make and your intentions behind them, taking the proper steps to set yourself up for success and achieve your goals is just as important as setting them in the first place. Now that we have explored the main reasons why resolutions fail, you can reassess your goals and take a step back to identify what you can do differently. And no, you don’t need to wait until 2023 to start working on your goals … If one of your resolutions is to live a healthier, fit life, you can start today by making FightCamp’s at-home boxing and kickboxing workouts a more consistent part of your routine!
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