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Why We Fail at New Year’s Resolutions (& Why There’s Still Hope)

Published By Team AdaptiveWork

If just the thought of making another New Year’s resolution makes you groan, there’s a good chance you’re one of the 92% of people who can’t seem to stick with them. We’re not trying to berate you here––just letting you know that you’re not alone!

New Year’s Resolutions are tricky for a number of reasons, but that shouldn’t stop you from using the 1st of the year to reflect on your personal and professional goals. To help you get a better understanding of why New Year’s resolutions fail and how you can overcome the odds, we compiled a few New Year’s Resolution statistics that shed light on the situation.

Check out these research-backed tips on how to keep your New Year’s resolutions.

1. 75% of people give up on their resolutions within the first month.

Yikes! That’s a short turnaround and can feel very defeating. The problem here is that people don’t see immediate results from their resolutions and give up before change has time to set in. For example, you may have resolved to lose 10 pounds. Within the first month, you’ll feel like you put in a lot of work, but haven’t shed all the weight. That’s when most of us decide to throw in the towel.

Aristotle famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Major life goals can’t be achieved overnight, and you need to be patient with results. A good way to avoid this is by setting mini monthly resolutions that work towards your primary resolution. Perhaps instead of “lose 10 pounds” (daunting), stick to “lose one pound a month” (achievable). Even better, make your resolution action-oriented, as opposed to result-based. Instead of “lose one pound a month,” opt for “go to the gym twice a week.”

Now, you’re probably wondering how to keep your New Year’s resolutions in the professional sense. The same holds true in the workplace. Rather than “get a promotion,” aim for “be more vocal about achievements” or “initiate a project outside of your daily responsibilities.” Instead of “get more clients,” try “attend 1 networking event a month” or “send out X cold emails per month.”

2. Only 50% of paying members at Planet Fitness actually go to the gym.

This is one of the New Year’s Resolution statistics we found most interesting, because it shows that people are willing to invest money into something they’ve got a 50% chance of sticking with. The lesson here is that something shiny (that you’ve spent money on) won’t be enough to stick with your resolutions. If your goal is to get in shape, start by going on runs around your neighborhood or follow a few free workout videos on YouTube. When you’ve committed to that, you can reward yourself by signing up at a gym. Once you’ve committed to the gym, you can then update your workout wardrobe. This system works because it gives you mini incentives along the way.

So how does this translate to your professional goals? If you have your eye on making your projects more Agile, for example, you don’t have to spring for the fancy bells-and-whistles Agile platform just yet. You might think the upfront commitment will force you to stay accountable to your goals, but this can backfire. Change fatigue is real, and becoming Agile often happens best in increments rather than all at once.

Increase your business agility with Planview AdaptiveWork’s project management software

Start by trying Agile methodologies one project or team at a time, and remember – if you want to see how technology can help, you can always try demos to see if a particular product will really be worth the investment. (Here’s how to try Planview AdaptiveWork.)

3. Self improvement tops the list.

According to New Year’s resolution statistics from Statistic Brain, “life/self improvement” is the second most common resolution (after “weight loss/healthy eating”). This is a great goal for professionals. In a workplace situation, we spend so much time putting out daily fires, we often forget to focus on bettering ourselves as professionals. As we mentioned previously, make this resolution possible by setting mini tangible goals. For example, commit to reading X books about your industry this year (make it a number that you know you can achieve) or take one relevant course at a professional school or even community college. These are simple ways to achieve the very large and daunting task of “self improvement.”

If you follow these tips and still fall off the bandwagon, there’s good news: you can always get back on. If you’re still unsure of how to keep your New Year’s resolutions for project management, we’re happy to help at Planview AdaptiveWork. Explore our blog for tons of other tips for finding success at work.

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Written by Team AdaptiveWork