6 Reasons You Haven’t Accomplished Your New Year’s Resolutions

November 06, 2015

By: Krista Bunker, RN 

Every year when January 1st rolls around, as I’m trying to recover from the last year (aka NYE), I decide to join the bandwagon and come up with a handful of New Year’s Resolutions. Every year without fail, about seven to eight months in (probably more like 7 to 8 weeks if I am being honest) I typically can’t remember my resolutions or have not made active steps towards achieving them. I hope I’m not alone in this struggle, because it’s real.

Well, sure enough New Years is just around the corner again, and while I have made some progress on a few of my resolutions, many are left untouched, written in my journal with no check mark of success next to it. This has me thinking; what is it exactly that is holding me back from accomplishing my resolutions and attaining my goals? 

Just as my type B personality makes accomplishing even the simplest tasks difficult in my everyday life, the personality of goals and your approach toward them play a huge part in actually achieving them. Here are six reasons you haven’t checked off that New Year’s resolution, and ways how to change it so you can!

1) Setting Avoidant Goals: These goals are designed to have a negative outcome, such as “I hope not to gain 20 pounds by the end of Christmas break.” Instead, try changing it to an “Approach Goal.” Approach goals lead to a positive outcome, such as “I will continue to work out 3 times a week and be able to do 30 pushups by the end of Christmas break.”

2) Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Goals: Extrinsic goals are set for you by others, and you pursue them because you think you should accomplish them for whatever reason. By making a goal intrinsic, you are setting it for yourself. I started out college as a pre-med major because I felt like I had the grades and should try to pursue it. However, I figured out junior year that nursing is my passion. Once I changed majors and embraced this new path in front of me, I became more passionate and ambitious in achieving this dream. I believe this is why I now have a job I love in the medical surgical ICU at The University of Kansas Hospital. You are more likely to achieve an intrinsic goal because your genuine desires, values, and interests drive it.

3) Creating Conflicting Goals: Make sure your goals don’t clash. They should all work together to get you where you want to be! For example, senior year of college I wanted to look great and stay in shape, but also found myself going out and eating out a lot (aka dollar night in Aggieville, late night pizza, and roomie outings to coldstone). These were very conflicting and lead to feelings of disappointment as I had failed to accomplish either goal.

4) Low vs. High Goals: Don’t settle. Setting the bar too low inhibits success. Push yourself, and you will be amazed at what you are actually able to achieve.

5) Conceptual vs. Specific Goals—I am notorious for setting NYE resolutions such as “get in shape” or “become more organized.” Big picture goals are much more likely attained when they are broken down into specifics. This means changing “get in shape” to “I will go to the gym after work 4 times a week,” and “get more organized” to “ I will create a file folder for all my important papers that are in a pile on my desk.”

6) Write down your goals—by simply writing down your goals, you are 3 times more likely to achieve them. When I take the time to write down a list of tasks I have a much more productive day and accomplish much more!

So what are you waiting for? New Years is only 2 months away, start preparing those resolutions now to have your best upcoming year yet!

What are some New Year's resolutions with the personality of approach, intrinsic, non-conflicting, high and specific?  Write them in the comments section and you will increase your likelihood of success!