In fact, more than 50% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions on January 1 every year, listing down the things they want to change and improve, promising themselves that this year is going to be different.
But alas, a study shows that 88% of people who make these resolutions give up by January 19. Why is that so? Why do so many people drop their goals within days of making them?
In this article, we’ll explain why most people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions, what you can do to actually achieve them, and how you can make vision boards for 2024 that work.
WHY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS DON’T WORK
In one study, researchers discovered that only 9% of people who make goals on January 1 achieve them, while the majority of people give up by mid-March. The numbers are staggering: most New Year’s resolutions don’t work. And here are three possible reasons why:
GOALS ARE TOO VAGUE
Goals require clarity. Instead of saying, “I want to exercise more,” make it more specific by saying, “I will jog for 20 minutes every other day around the neighborhood.” The more specific you are with your goal, the better it is for you to achieve it because you have a clear picture of what it looks like.
Vague goals, however, lack the clarity they need to give you the willpower and motivation to act. Studies show that specific, clear, and detailed goals give you more cues, and therefore, are more effective.
GOALS ARE UNREALISTIC
Psychologist Lynn Bufka, Ph.D. explains that smaller goals are easier to attain than bigger goals. For example, you want to lose 20 pounds in 2 months, just in time for March to come along. It’s a big goal that gives you pressure since you’re focusing on the big target.
Bufka explains that giving yourself unrealistic goals can give you undue pressure that will lead to disappointment. When you’re not achieving this goal, it will force you to give up.
So instead of making a big goal, why not break it down into smaller goals, such as going to the gym for one hour every day after work, rather than telling yourself you need to lose 20 pounds after 50 days?
HAVING TOO MANY GOALS
Professor Baba Shiv of the Stanford School of Business conducted an experiment that explained the concept of “cognitive load.” It is the phenomenon that happens when there is too much information in our brains, other cognitive functions are compromised.
The study involved two groups of undergraduate students who were told to memorize a set of numbers. One group was given 2 digits while another group was given 7 numbers to remember. They were then told to take a short walk in a hallway and by the end of the walk, were made to choose between two snacks: a healthy bowl of fruit or a slice of chocolate cake.
Surprisingly, the group that was given 7 numbers was twice as likely to choose the slice of chocolate cake over the bowl of fruit.
Professor Shiva explains that more information takes valuable space in the brain, and thus, results in “cognitive load,” which makes it hard for people to resist temptation.
The phenomenon of “cognitive load” can explain why you lack focus and attention on your goals. Because you are so busy trying to lose weight and save money at the same time, one of your goals suffers, because you are doing too much at one time.
The key to making resolutions work is choosing one major goal, and focusing on achieving it first, before moving on to another goal. Taking one resolution at a time is much more efficient than trying to achieve too many things all at once.
Now that you know why your resolutions aren’t working, the next section will teach you what to do to make them work.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS WORK
Here are some of the ways you can make your New Year’s resolutions work:
MAKE IT SPECIFIC
As mentioned earlier, you need to make your resolutions clear, specific, and detailed. It’s also the very same principle as stated in the Law of Attraction, wherein setting intentions needs to be specific.
CREATE A HABIT FIRST
Instead of making big lifestyle changes, BJ Fogg of Stanford’s Behavior Design Lab, recommends making tiny habits first. For example, you want to quit smoking. Instead of having a goal of “Quit smoking in 2024,” create a small habit of reducing your cigarette consumption first.
You can say, “I will only smoke one cigarette per day,” until you get used to not smoking at all. Tiny habits are easier to attain than going cold turkey on a habit you’ve gotten used to.
PICK ONE GOAL AS YOUR PRIORITY
To reduce “cognitive load,” try achieving one goal at a time. Avoid trying to lose weight and taking on a new diet at the same time.
HAVE GOOD SOCIAL SUPPORT
A 2007 study reveals that increased social support leads to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, and decreased levels of cortisol, or the stress hormone, in the body. This shows that having a good social support system has a positive effect on the body, but also your motivation.
And lastly, celebrate your small wins by rewarding yourself. You can allow yourself to eat a slice of chocolate cake when you’ve lost 5 pounds, or binge-watch your favorite show after working on a side hustle over the weekend, and so on.
Celebrating milestones can give you the boost of dopamine you need to reinforce these positive behaviors that align with your resolutions. This can give you the willpower and motivation you need to keep going until you’ve achieved your target goal.
When making your 2024 vision board, remember these tips and consider them when making your list of new goals and changes for the year.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO MAKING YOUR VISION BOARDS 2024
Now that you know what could be preventing you from accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions, and what can possibly work, it’s time you start making your New Year’s vision board for 2024.
Here is a simple guide:
CHOOSE YOUR VISION BOARD PLATFORM
There are many ways you can make a dream board, and these are some of the most popular:
- Vision board kits
- Vision board printables
- Digital dream board
- Vision board templates
- Physical dream boards
- Dream board journals
If you want something convenient, try templates and digital boards. Templates are pre-designed layouts that provide a simple guide to outlining your goals through questions and images.
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Offering a vision board subscription, The Vision Cloud allows you to experience an easy, straightforward, and effective way to manifest your dreams. The magazine contains over 100 pictures, motivational words, and affirmations that will help you stay inspired and motivated to chase after your dreams.
Aside from a vision board magazine, you also get goal-setting workbooks, a simple guide to making your dream board, as well as tips and tricks to making the most of your vision boards. Other inclusions include a daily SMS reminder and get to join a private and exclusive community on Facebook.
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CREATE YOUR NEW YEAR’S MANIFESTATIONS
Instead of resolutions, try calling them manifestations instead. Resolutions can make you think of the things you want to change from the year before, but manifestations allow you to visualize the outcome of what you are attempting to achieve.
PRACTICE MANIFESTATION TECHNIQUES
Making a board from a template or using a digital platform may come fast and easy, but you still need to include manifestation techniques in your practice.
Choose the best manifestation method that works for you and use it for your vision board 2024.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
If January 19 or mid-March comes and your resolutions haven’t been achieved yet, don’t worry. As mentioned earlier, only 9% accomplish their goals by then, and the majority of 91% don’t, so it’s completely okay to start small as long as you keep going.
New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad rep due to the fact that most people who make them end up failing. But just because the majority of resolutions fail, doesn’t mean yours will fail, too.
Understand the very reasons why most resolutions fail, find the methods that do work, and apply them to your own goals at the start of the year.
What we’ve talked about here are just some of these reasons and it could be different for you and other people, but knowing about them will greatly help you in crafting your New Year’s goals, as well as giving you a simple guide on how to make your vision boards 2024 work.