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5 Mistakes to Avoid While Planning Your 2019 New Year’s Resolution

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Before you give up on making a 2019 New Year’s Resolution, here are 5 ways to actually accomplish your goals.


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It’s about that time again. Time to acknowledge that you ate more than you’re comfortable admitting and spent more on gifts than you made last quarter.

That’s right. Christmas. And ironically, like clockwork, the new year is here beckoning me to think about what I’ve done and feel a deep sense of regret for my actions (two words: sugar cookies).

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Every year around December 30th, I think of about ten goals to make my life less lame, and then I follow through… for like, a day.

I do just fine until a co-worker brings in chocolate chip cookies for everyone at the office. Suddenly, all bets are off. I attack those little wafers of joy like I haven’t eaten for weeks. Then about five minutes later, after stuffing my face with chocolate chips, I hang my head in defeat, just like last year.

Eventually, the inevitable happens. I realize that every year I get excited about making big life changes, and every year I fail. So I decide that the best thing to do is give up before I begin. It seems less discouraging to never try than to try and fail.

Can you relate?

But before you completely dismiss the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution, here are five mistakes most of us make that keep us from meeting our goals.

5 Mistakes to Avoid While Planning Your 2019 New Year’s Resolution

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Mistake #1: Never write down your goals

If you don’t write down your goals, you won’t accomplish them. You probably won’t even remember them.

All you need to do is commit to sit down for 30 minutes one evening this week and write down some goals.

Mistake #2: Set unattainable goals

We get ourselves into trouble when we set goals that involve a complete life change. Instead of going from never exercising, to exercising for an hour every day, let’s take it a little slower.

How about committing to three days a week, 15 minutes per session?

We can’t accomplish great things without help, encouragement and accountability. That’s because we weren’t designed to do life alone.

When our goals are too difficult to attain, instead of giving ourselves grace when we mess up, we usually just give up. That’s why it’s better to thoughtfully commit to a small goal than to excitedly aim high, only to quit a couple of weeks later.

Smaller ambitions leave room for real life to interrupt your goals without compromising them.

Mistake #3: Commit to too much

If you have ten goals you want to undertake this year, you probably won’t accomplish any of them. I recommend no more than three.

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Truth be told, having only one goal would probably give you the most success.

Mistake #4: Be vague and unspecific

Here are three goals you will never accomplish:

  • I want to be healthier next year.
  • I want to read more next year.
  • I want to learn French next year.

You won’t accomplish these goals because they’re not goals. They’re ideals. Goals are specific, measurable and actionable.

Here are three goals you can achieve:

  • I want to lose 25 pounds next year. I will do this by exercising three times a week and only having sugar (candy, snacks, soda, etc.) one day a week.
  • I want to read 12 books next year. So I will read 1 book every month.
  • I want to learn 500 new words in French next year. So I will purchase software, learn ten new words each week and quiz myself on the forty new words I’ve learned at the end of every month.

Mistake #5: Keep it a secret/surprise

Maybe you want to surprise your spouse or friends. Maybe you don’t want to face the embarrassment of everyone knowing if you fail. Or perhaps you just want to see if you can accomplish your goals by yourself. Whatever the reason, our tendency is often to not tell anyone about our goals.

Stop.

It’s a trap.

We can’t accomplish great things without help, encouragement and accountability. That’s because we weren’t designed to do life alone.

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If you want to surprise someone, fine. But find someone else to tell. Preferably, find someone to do it with you. Exercise together, register for the same French class or start a book club.