Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions? Me too!
I know it’s only mid-January, but it’s all good. I made a New Year’s resolution that I wouldn’t eat sugar and it’s no shock that I broke it after 8 days. My goal was unrealistic. One bite here and one bite there lead to a lovely vanilla coconut cake, which was heavenly.
We all face failures in life. Many of us may be experiencing setbacks this season, as we just set goals for the New Year and those goals are crumbling. You might find yourself in a similar place to me. I knew it the moment I took my first bite of sugar, after restraining for a week. No sugar for an entire year was not a good goal. In theory, the goal was worthy, but I didn’t consider how I would deal with the opportunities to enjoy sugar. I didn’t consider my lifestyle, my love for baking, and the alternatives I would implement in place of sugar.
“Like success, failure is many things to many people. With a positive mental attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again”
-W. Clement Stone
Reasons why we face failures in life
Failures in life happen. Sometimes they happen because of ourselves and sometimes circumstances outside of our control occur. When I face setbacks in life, I like to look inwards first to see what I can do differently next time. These are some reasons that I’ve discovered.
- Unrealistic goals – As in the case of my no-sugar goal, it was unrealistic. Sure, maybe no sugar for 30 days could have been reached, but one year was not reasonable for me and my life. It was unrealistic because it didn’t align with what I value in life. I love celebrating others over good food! Food and good company are meant to be enjoyed. Of course in moderation, but good food is a love language for me!
- Lack of conviction – You have to believe that your goal is worthy at all costs. While I think that eliminating sugar is beneficial for your health, I don’t believe that consuming a little sugar here and there is detrimental to my health. If I had a strong conviction about not consuming sugar for the whole year, my goal may have been easier to keep.
- Lack of discipline – I’ll be the first to admit it. I lacked the discipline to resist the sweet treats. It’s not easy to say that you didn’t have enough discipline, but it’s the truth in this case. There’s no shame in this. Lack of discipline is a common reason for many failures in life but it requires humility to acknowledge it.
Techniques to overcome setbacks and failures in life
It is important to know why the failure happened, but equally important to have tools to help you avoid those same mistakes next time. Let’s focus more on techniques to get back on your New Year’s resolutions, seeing I’m sure I’m not the only one in my boat!
Discover your why
Take time to reflect on the why behind your actions and goals. Your why is your motivation. Sometimes it takes peeling back multiple layers to get to the root of what truly motivates you. Discovering your motivation for what you do and aspire to do, will help you sustain your goals when circumstances are difficult.
Quickly get back up
One of the hardest things about making New Year’s resolutions is the pressure that we put on ourselves on January 1st. For many, the person they were on the 31st of December and the person they are on the 1st of January are not much different, so expecting the 1st of the year to be transformative simply because it’s a New Year, can be a letdown.
When people fail in their New Year’s resolutions, there can be the thought to throw in the towel and try again next year–as if the only starting point can be on the 1st of January. This is the same struggle many have with cheat days. You slip up mid-week and eat something you’ve been avoiding and instead of getting back to your diet the next day with a new resolve, you wait until the next week and decide to blow the rest of the week as you already failed.
One of the best things you can do to achieve your goals after a failure in life is to decide to try again as quickly as possible. For myself, while I have failed my no-sugar goal for the year, I am determined to cut back and be more mindful of the sugar that I consume. I’m still working towards a year of consuming less sugar, although I have realized I need to make room for moderation. Throughout the year, I may need to pull back more and give myself some more slack but it will have to be a target that is continuously being reassessed.
Accept that failure is part of being human
In order to be willing to pick yourself back up again and keep trying, requires recognizing that failure is a necessary part of growing in life. I can’t help but forget Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” While failure may feel fatal at times, it is good to remind yourself that only death holds that capability. Failure can be our teacher if we choose to try again.
Make small, consistent changes
Just as important as trying and trying again, making small, consistent changes will produce results that will be easier to maintain for the long haul. That’s the point, right? We want our goals to last, but lasting goals take time and consistency. I wish it was the big, quick changes in life that stuck, but it’s the simple small ones. Isn’t it always the simple and the small things in life that hold the most value? With a commitment to small and consistent change, you are in turn, signing up for lots of reflection and evaluation on where you are and where you want to go.
Practicing what I preach
This post is inspired by what I am going through right now, so you know that you are not alone. That leads me to the fact that I promised to give you an update on learning how to take up a sport that I’m not that interested in. This was also one of my New Year’s resolutions.
This goal hasn’t been easy either, but I am committed to it. That said, I’m still not loving the sport of golf. It’s still a four-letter word. I’ve been working on creative steps to find success. Since I respond to affirmations, I thought I’d ask friends about their positives in golf. Maybe they can be mine. I wrote their words down and read them out loud while getting ready to go out to practice five times a week. These are the words of advice that have resonated with me.
-It’s a physical activity you can do with your husband over the years.
-You can reset your circadian rhythm by being outside and it helps you sleep better.
-You get natural vitamin D after 20 minutes, even on cloudy days.
-Being outside boosts your immune system.
-It’s an opportunity to meet new friends.
-Always dress for a fun time!
-Name your favorite clubs to personalize your golf experience.
-Every person said, “You can golf with me!”
I’ll let you know in my next blog post how it’s all going!
If you have failed in your New Year’s goals, or you are holding on strong, I hope these tips give you hope and direction to achieving your purpose.
For related posts, please check out these past posts: