When the new year rolls around, there are always tons of articles and news stories about sticking to your NYE resolutions. Despite all of this advice, accomplishing New Year’s goals can feel quite elusive. Even though we all seem to have the capacity to make resolutions, very few of us actually reach the finish line and accomplish them.
Because of this, one of my favorite quotes when it comes to goal-setting is:
If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability. – Brene Brown
From this quote, we see that the problem with resolutions isn’t that people give up on them. It’s that we don’t account for the inevitable failure that will come along the way. And when we set out to achieve any big, brave goal, we WILL fail.
The truth is…
Our motivation will wane.
Life will happen.
We’ll fall short of milestones and deadlines.
We’ll feel overwhelmed and scared.
And we’ll want to give up…often.
That’s why, when it comes to resolutions, planning to overcome the obstacles that pop up along the way is just as important as setting the goal itself.
To that end, below you’ll find my top tips for overcoming the challenges that threaten to derail your progress on your NYE resolutions. You’ll also learn what you can do to get back on track when you fail forward toward your goals.
We live in a hyper-productive, hyper-get-it-done culture where there are tips, tricks, and life hacks all designed to help you accomplish your goals quickly and efficiently. But what lies in the gap between reading those tips and actually implementing them is resistance.
In the foreword to the book War of Art, Robert McKee explains resistance like this:
[resistance is ] that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long term course of action that might do for us or others something that’s actually good.
Basically, resistance is the ultimate hater.
It’s that little voice in the back of your mind that says, “That’s never going to work.” And it’s the reason you can be acknowledged for achievements at work, but simply “can’t find the time” to start that book, project, or business that you’ve been dreaming of for years.
The worst part is that resistance will always exist. Every obstacle you face along your goal-setting journey is just another form of resistance. So the first step to overcoming it is acknowledging and accepting that it’s there.
Because resistance will always exist right alongside any goal you plan to achieve, you must develop a “keep going until” attitude. Keep going until means you commit to pursuing your goal until you reach it. There are no contingency plans, and it’s not over until you accomplish what you set out to do. Once you commit to a goal, the only attitude that leads to success is the one that says, I will keep pursuing my goal until I get there.
Our minds love to develop routines because they can move processes from our conscious mind (which requires more energy and effort) to an unconscious process that happens without a second thought. This is a great idea when we are trying to achieve a goal. The more routines we create, the more things will just happen without thought or a battle with resistance. So another strategy for accomplishing your goals is to develop routines for as many tasks as you can along the way.
For a very long time, I thought I needed to get over my fears to achieve my goals. But now that I’ve been an entrepreneur for some time, I know that is not the case. If you are setting big goals, fear is coming along for the ride too. And it never leaves. Fear just morphs and changes into new worries as time goes on. Our job is to feel those fears and do our work anyway. The more you act in the face of fear, the more you realize that you won’t die or fall apart. Instead, you’ll chip away at achieving your goal.
Another thing that I’ve learned over the years is that if I just keep showing up and doing the work, I’ll win the war. There is no secret sauce. The tips and tricks aren’t shortcuts. The competition is within me. And as long as I keep showing up every day, I’ll get better. Things will get easier. Progress will naturally occur. My job is just to keep showing up in the face of it all.
What are your thoughts on this post? Do you have any tips for sticking to your resolutions that aren’t listed here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.