Setup for Success in 2024

With the fresh start and the promise of a new year, the majority of Americans have set a resolution, with the hopes of conquering a new goal in 2024.  By the end of week one, twenty-three percent of those individuals will already throw in the towel, with another thirty-six percent giving up before February arrives.  Statistically speaking, only about 1 out of 11 people will successfully complete their New Year’s resolution.  Those numbers can quickly take the wind out of your sail and may even have you asking yourself “what’s the point?”!  Understanding what deters people from accomplishing their goals can help you better prepare to successfully accomplish your own.

Why Do We Fail?

There are two main reasons why individuals usually fail to maintain their New Year’s Resolution.  Simply stated, their goals are generally too difficult or too vague.  When we set unreachable goals with unrealistic expectations, coupled with a lack of execution, we set ourselves up for failure.

The most common resolution is centered around weight loss.  Americans, young and old, are hopeful to lose the extra weight, year after year.  However, without a firm plan in place, the odds of actually reaching that goal are grim.  For instance, let’s take a look at “Jim” who sets out to lose 50 pounds this year.  To reach his goal, he’s going to “eat healthier and exercise more frequently”.  Jim, who never exercises, walks up and down his street on January 1st and January 2nd.  It’s uncomfortable and undesirable, leaving him out of breath with aching legs.  By January 3rd, he decides he’s skipping his walk because he doesn’t feel like going.  Also in the first week, he eats smaller portions of the same old foods at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because he believes smaller portions are healthier.  He goes to lunch with his buddies and orders a cobb salad, because salads are known to be healthy.  He opts for the grilled chicken instead of the fried chicken… great choice, Jim!  However, he fails to realize that the crumbled bacon, mound of blue cheese, and ranch dressing negate his “healthy” choice.  After the first week, Jim is hungry and cranky and, to make matters even worse, the scale hasn’t budged.  He is now irritated and feels defeated; Jim gives up after just one week.

While a loss of 50 pounds is a lofty goal, it is still achievable with the right tools and under the right circumstances.  Let’s take a look at what would make this a successful venture.

Success in Goal Setting

First and foremost, you need to establish “why” you want to achieve a particular goal.  Jim decides he wants to lose 50 pounds to help alleviate some weight related health issues.  He also wants to be able to move around more comfortably so he can enjoy walks with his wife without labored breathing.  Furthermore, he wants to be able to throw the football with his grandson and get down on the floor to play dolls with his granddaughter.  Now Jim has motivation; he has a clear understanding of why he wants to lose the extra weight.  When times get tough and he wants to give up, Jim is going to focus on his “why” to power through!  Jim may even create a vision board to serve as a tangible reminder of why he’s committed to his weight loss journey.

Jim meets with a nutritionist to come up with a plan that helps him focus and understand how to shift his eating habits.  Together they decide Jim will eat 5 small meals a day consisting of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, and nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.  He will record his meals in a journal.  He’s dedicated some time each Sunday and Wednesday to meal prep with his wife, who is on board with his new plan.  Every other Tuesday, for the first 2 months, he will meet with his nutritionist to discuss his new eating habits and tweak his plan based around any obstacles he may encounter.  At this time, he will also weigh-in and take measurements and progress pictures.  He will also gradually begin incorporating exercise into his weight loss journey.  Jim now has a solid plan, accountability, and support to help him succeed.  As the time passes, he will continue the journaling, measurements, and progress pictures at home, but still meets with his nutritionist once a month.  He’s beginning to take responsibility for his weight loss, but still has a support system in place.  The chances of Jim successfully losing weight this year have increased substantially because he has a clear and concise plan with measurable goals.

New Year’s resolutions can span a variety of topics including weight loss, finances, organization, social interactions, new skills, and more.  No matter which goal you set out to achieve, the same principles apply to ensure your success.  Design a solid plan with measurable goals, define your “why”, establish a support system, build accountability, and expect obstacles and setbacks along the way.