The Biggest New Year's Resolution Mistake Everyone Makes

How to take complete control of your life on January 1

new years resolutions journal

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 your first blunder on a 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.

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 some reasonable goals to keep through all of 2019, here are 30 New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Stick to This Year.

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.

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.

Your goals are too vague

"I want to be happier this year." Okay, 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."

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!

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.

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.

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 endgame, you'll find it way much harder to get there.

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. For a foolproof action plan, check out these 100 Motivational Weight Loss Tips for 2019.

You don't create a 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.

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.

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.

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.

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—yes, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 you truly be happier? If not, focus on a goal that will bring joy to your life. Remember: there's no such thing as being too happy.

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!

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.

You don't write everything down

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

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.

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.

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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