25 Biggest New Year’s Resolution Mistakes

How to take complete control of your life on January 1.

25 Biggest New Year’s Resolution Mistakes

How to take complete control of your life on January 1.

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You’re determined to lose 30 pounds and learn to speak French by February 1. You want to get a new job that doubles your current salary and your vacation time. You want to give up… Coffee. I get it: It’s all-too-easy to slingshot out of the boozy haze of the holidays and set high goals for yourself in the new year.

But guess what: there’s a wrong way and right way of setting yourself up for success—and setting crazy-unrealistic goals is one of your first blunders on your path to failure. Sadly, it’s not the only one. Herewith, you’ll find all of the errors people make regarding their New Year’s resolutions. So take note, and set yourself up to win. And for more ways to improve yourself in the new year, don’t miss the 40 Best Ways to Keep New Habits.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

1
Your list is entirely too long

Fact: if you add too many things to your resolution list, you’ll weigh yourself down and accomplish basically none of them. It’s safer to keep your list to a few key goals that you can realistically achieve. And if you’re looking for one super easy goal, consider trying your hand at clean sleeping. 

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

2
You’re aiming too high

Truth: You’re consciously or subconsciously setting yourself up to fail. If you know that change is too hard to achieve, you won’t feel bad when you fall short. This is a terrible mentality to have when it comes to success. And for ways to live healthier and happier, her’s the best way to wake up earlier every day. 

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

3
You’re not focusing solely on things you can control

If your goal is to lose five pounds, you’re entirely in control. You can eat better and exercise. But if your goal is to get a new, high-paying job, that’s not entirely in your control. You can’t make someone hire you. So be smart about setting yourself down a path that is entirely within your power.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

4
Your goals are too vague

“I want to be happier this year.” OK, good luck with that! Maybe a better goal is to say, “I’m going to save 10 percent of every paycheck so I can buy a car by the fall.” And for more ways to turn over a new leaf, here are 40 Life-Changing Habits to Follow After 40. 

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

5
Your goal can’t be easily measured

Remember: The more measurable your goal is, the more you can track your progress and figure your end point. If you want to shave a minute off your mile time, get yourself a fitness tracker and start measuring!

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

6
You’re deciding your resolutions based on other people’s

Live your best life—not someone else’s! Don’t go down a path that you’re not passionate about yourself. Period. Because if you’re not feeling it deep-down, you will fail.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

7
You’re making resolutions that you don’t really care about

Think hard about what you want to achieve. Will it make you healthier? Happier? It’s important that the resolutions you’re setting you care about—otherwise you’ll stray.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

8
You’re setting goals that aren’t fulfilling

Achieving a goal is a journey. If it’s learning a new language, you have to commit yourself to the fulfilling process of going to a class and experiencing the path you’re on. If you’re only focused on the end-game, you’ll find it way much harder to get there.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

9
You have no game-plan to reach your goals

If you want to lose weight, but you don’t have a clear plan and regimen in place, you will not succeed. Period.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

10
You don’t create timeline

Once you’ve got your plan in place, set certain milestones. You’ll experience the thrill of success as you continue on your path to reaching a goal.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

11
You don’t pace yourself

While you’re creating this timeline, it’s important to make sure that—just like your resolution—your steps are paced in a realistically manner.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

12
You don’t track your results

It’s crucial to note your progress. It’s the only way to know if you’re improving, or—worse—regressing.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

13
You don’t reward yourself

Rewards are a huge part of the new year’s resolution process. This positive reinforcement along the way keeps you happy and on your path to success.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

14
You don’t expect setbacks

Plans fall apart. Hey, it’s simply a part of life. You have to be willing to accept and overcome any setbacks. You should know this heading in—you will fail on many days—but the key is to keep going and don’t get discouraged simply because you didn’t 100 percent follow your plan.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

15
You let temporary mistakes derail everything

Don’t let a bad week destroy a three-month plan. Just stay the course. In the end, it’ll only make you stronger.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

16
You don’t tell other people your resolutions

Moral support is huge when making life changes. If you keep your goals to yourself you won’t have anyone to challenge you along the way and hold you accountable when you can’t do it yourself. Or, even better, you won’t have anyone to celebrate with when you reach certain milestones.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

17
You don’t ask for help when you need it

You can’t expect other people to understand what it is you need all the time. Along the way, you’re going to have to recognize when you need a little assistance.

biggest New Years resolutions mistakes

18
You expect an easy solution to really big goals

There may be some resolutions you can achieve fast—that’s great! But others may take a lot more work. Don’t think that you can hit your weight-loss goals by cutting out one food. No, you need to put together a smart, comprehensive plan.

biggest new year resolution mistakes

19
You don’t choose a resolution that will truly make you happy

Dramatic body transformations as resolutions are hugely common, of course. But if you achieve these goals you’re setting, will it truly make you happier? If not, focus on a goal that will bring joy to your life. Remember: there’s no such thing as being too happy.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

20
You’re motivating yourself with negativity

Suffice it to say, negative motivation could turn into negative energy. It’ll work out better for you in the long run if you keep all your motivations positive. Don’t get that new bod as a revenge at your girlfriend or boyfriend. Get it because you deserve it!

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

21
You lose focus

When this happens, remind yourself why it is you set it in the first place and how good it felt when you reached the last milestone. This will help motivate you and get your resolution back on track.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

22
You don’t write everything down

Writing down your goals—and how to reach them—is the surest way to success.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

23
You don’t address the emotional reasons you want to make a change

When you’re deciding what change it is you need to make, it’s best to closely examine exactly why you want to make this change in the first place. Is it for you or for someone else? If it’s for the latter, think long and hard about whether or not that’s the right goal for you.

New home buyer painting her new home.

24
You don’t adjust your environment

If the resolution is something like spending less money or going out less, you might have to change how you live your life a bit. If your friends are the types that go shopping every weekend, you might have to come up with other activities for you to do with them. When adjusting your environment, you don’t need to lose friends, just come up with alternative plans that best suit everyone, especially you.

biggest New Years resolution mistakes

25
You don’t think long-term

There’s no point in making a promise to yourself it’s only temporary. Use the new year as an opportunity to make real, significant change that will benefit you in years to come. I mean, why not?

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