Avoid the Top 5 Resolution Pitfalls

(and find more happiness along the way)

Do you make the same New Year’s resolution year after year? Do you ever keep it? Do any of these common resolutions resemble those you promise to keep, but never do?

I’m going to…

· Lose weight

· Stop procrastinating

· Exercise more

· Spend less money on things I don’t need

· Eat better/less

· Watch less TV

While these are all commendable endeavors, it is rare that we ever stick with them. More often than not, we get back into the cycle of overeating, watching too much TV, overspending, and feeling guilty about breaking our resolutions. And then the negative thoughts creep in: “If I can’t even keep a stupid New Year’s resolution, then I am weak and a loser.” Or, worse yet, “No one ever keeps their resolutions, so big deal if I didn’t keep mine.”

Perhaps the reason behind your discarded resolution is not, in fact, that you are a loser. Perhaps it is that you were trying to make the wrong kind of change in the wrong kind of way.

A Different Kind of Change
When Amber, 32 made her New Year’s resolution last year, she promised to lose twenty pounds. She had gotten into the habit of coming home from work every day and eating in front of the TV until she went to bed. She resolved to stop the overeating, therefore losing weight. However, on her first day back at work after the holidays, Amber came home and felt the temptation to succumb to her old habits. “I just didn’t have anything else to do,” she said. “I used to sit on the couch, watch TV and eat. Without eating, sitting on the couch felt even emptier. So I ordered takeout.”

The Top 5 Resolution Pitfalls
Amber’s experience is not unlike that of many others, both women and men. Often we make critical mistakes when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. These 5 Resolution Pitfalls are surefire ways to fail in your resolutions this year.

Subtracting the “Bad Behaviors”
Just subtracting bad habits alone from your life only makes room for more bad habits to fill the void.

Setting an Unrealistic Goal
It’s almost impossible, and certainly unhealthy, to try to lose 20 pounds in two months, yet New Year’s resolutions are full of unattainable goals like this. They are setting you up for failure.

Taking Too Big of a Leap
If you aren’t exercising at all right now, it’s unlikely that you’ll start working out four times a week consistently. Once again, you are setting yourself up for failure.

4. Addressing the Surface Problem…

…without considering the feelings or deeper needs underlying the problem. With dedication and hard work, you might take care of the problem – like losing 20 pounds – but you may still be unhappy if you don’t work at what was underneath it.

5. Making a “Resolution” vs. a “One Decision”

The average New Year’s resolution lasts three weeks. The One Decision is a commitment to pursing a life vision and taking the steps to get there.

Wanting MORE
Judith Wright, author of THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions, is an expert at helping people create great lives versus short term resolutions that are likely to fail. She helps people overcome their Soft Addictions, the seemingly harmless habits that suck up our time and energy but never fulfill our lives. These Soft Addictions are really what get in the way of us keeping our resolutions and creating the more meaningful lives we long for.

For every resolution pitfall there is another option. Take a look at the first pitfall – Subtracting the “Bad Behaviors.” Amber fell pray to this when she resolved to stop overeating. But when Amber chose the other option, her results were completely different.

Don’t Just Subtract Your Bad Habits – Apply the “Math of MORE”
Amber was so focused on the subtraction of things in her life that she was unable to keep her resolution. In Judith’s book, she teaches the “Math of MORE,” where you shift the focus to adding things to your life to achieve your higher vision, gradually subtracting the Soft Addictions. Amber worked through the book and changed the vision of her resolution. The real culprit behind her overeating and nightly TV marathons was that she was bored and dissatisfied with her social life. So instead of resolving to stop overeating, Amber resolved to try a new activity and spend more meaningful time with her friends. She added more fulfilling elements to her life, and the Soft Addictions she was carrying naturally faded away.

When you are adding to and nourishing yourself and your life, you don’t feel deprived of anything. And when you find the root of your Soft Addictions (one of the keys to overcoming them), you can add the ideas and activities that will help you overcome them. Create a more positive vision of what you want your life to be like without your Soft Addiction, and stay focused on that vision throughout your journey.

Take One Step Today
Think about your own resolutions for the upcoming year. What kinds of things can you add to your commitment so that the Soft Addictions or bad habits are not quite so attractive? Pick one or two things and you’re one big step closer to having more life, love, meaning, time, money, energy or whatever else you desire.

To discover the 8 Key Life Skills that are antidotes to the Resolution Pitfalls, read THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions by Judith Wright. For ordering information, visit www.judithwright.com.

Copyright 2004, The Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning

Author's Bio: 

JUDITH WRIGHT, founder of the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning, is an inspirational speaker, educator, life coach, seminar leader, and the national best-selling author of THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions. Called ‘one of the most sought after self-help gurus’ by The San Francisco Chronicle, Judith has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, over 300 radio programs, and in over 30 national magazines and newspapers.

Judith founded the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning after twenty years of developing innovative, inspirational education and personal growth programs at the university and private levels. The Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning helps people fulfill their potential in the areas of work, relationship, self, and spirituality through coaching, products, and in-depth training programs. Find out more about the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning, www.wrightliving.com. Find out more about Judith Wright, www.judithwright.com