3 key reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t work…and what to do about it.

Every year at this time, millions of people pledge to themselves and their friends what is going to change in the new year – the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. I want to lose weight, I want to stop smoking, I want to save more money and get out of debt. But numerous research studies confirm that nearly 95% of all resolutions are never achieved. In fact, most resolutions or goals for the year are well off-track by the middle of February, and are completely forgotten four months later.

How is it that millions of people want something that is important to them, is absolutely possible to achieve, will provide tremendous benefits and rewards, yet they fail so miserably at getting what they want?

Here are three key reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t work:

1) Most resolutions are made in response to something negative. Lose weight, get out of debt, stop smoking. They are based on a habit or situation someone wants to change or end. While these are valid things to change, it’s really hard to build momentum by ending something negative. It requires focus on something you don’t want.

2) Most people don’t understand what it takes to truly create lasting change or results. Resolutions and goal are just words, but results require action – and usually consistent and massive action. Most people want something big to change yet don’t get crystal clear on what action will be required, what new information or knowledge they need, what new skills they need or what old habits must be broken that will hold them back. Trying harder is never the solution, trying different is.

3) Most people don’t establish the right environment of support for the goal. After bolding claiming to themselves and their friends what they will do, most people try (or suffer) in private to make the change. Combined with points 1 and 2 above, without effective influence, support, collaboration it can be a daunting challenge that can quickly lose momentum.

2010 doesn’t have to be this way for you. Here’s a quick solution for your resolutions:

1) Describe a compelling outcome you really want. Rather than losing 20 lbs, turn it to the positive: I want to be a vibrant and healthy 120lbs so I can play with my children for hours, wear that slinky dress and have more energy to give to my partner.

2) Write down exactly WHAT you want, and describe in detail WHY that is important. When you get really connected to the WHY, that’s when the energy, enthusiasm and excitement builds. Then detail the HOW, the specific steps and actions you need to take. Complete it with a measurable timeframe. Most importantly, review your top goals daily, and all goals monthly to keep you on track.

3) Create an empowering environment around you. Supportive friends, daily reminders posted on your wall or mirror, throw away all junk food, de-clutter your home to give you more focus. If those goals are really compelling, you will do whatever it takes to ensure you make consistent progress towards your goals.

If you’re not already subscribed to Action Podcast, you can do so on the right side of this page. You’ll receive weekly inspiration, insights and motivation to keep you going from four experienced coaches. That’s another way to keep you on track, on purpose and energized throughout the entire process.

Best wishes for a successful and rewarding 2010!