It isn't your will power, it is your blind, dreamy, boring resolutions

It's January - the season of resolutions. Unfortunately, it's also the season when resolutions die! A study showed that most people give up on their New Years' resolutions and goals by  January 19th. 

Why is that?

The most common problem is bad resolutions, not people or their will powers. There are 3 types of bad resolutions. 

1. Blind resolutions: Most people blindly pick resolutions like "I want to drink more water" without knowing why it matters to them.  For any resolution to be relevant, you should be able to answer both "Would your life become significantly better?" and "Would your deeply regret not doing this?" with a resounding yes. 

To know that, you need to start with a clear philosophy and picture of how you want to live and what your life is about. Then you work backward from that to create a prioritized plan. This is a solo exploration and a time-consuming process, but a foundational one. A lot of people skip this step. 

2. Dreamy resolutions: These are resolutions like "I want to exercise more." which lack a plan.  Jerry Seinfeld says our brains are like pups or toddlers. They need to be told exactly what to do, when, and how. Be more specific about your plan to exercise - how would you exercise, when will you exercise - which days and hours, how long, what are your backups, what equipment or tools you would need, etc. So when it's time to do it, you have no question of what and how. 

3. Boring resolutions: If you have a meaningful resolution and a detailed plan, but the plan is boring, you'll eventually stop doing them and also feel quite guilty about it. A plan that's fun and interesting to you, and one that you'll stick to, is better than the most effective plan.  For, e.g., if you enjoy brisk walks in the park or a game of basketball, over, say, running on a treadmill in the gym, then go with that! Have a. menu of interesting alternative options. If there's no way to make it interesting, then combine it with something fun - like treating yourself to a favorite drink after, listening to a fun podcast during, or making it social. 

Change is hard, and will power is hard, but you can increase your chances with better resolutions. Make few but meaningful resolutions, make specific plans, and make the plans fun and interesting! And if you catch yourself failing at your resolutions - that's okay and totally normal. It just means you need to revisit your resolutions and make them better. 

If you liked this, you will also enjoy my related post on My Top 5 Habit Building tricks

Good luck!