Mistakes Res

The 10 Most Common Mistakes for Resolutions (And How to Correct Them)

By Matthew Joyce and Janet Joyce, Ph.D.

We love a new year. As the beginning of a new cycle of life it offers a chance to review what is and isn’t working in life, to set new and exciting goals, and resolve to follow through on those changes. But it takes more than a fresh start and a dose of optimism to actually bring your goals and dreams to reality.

Unfortunately, that’s why so many people fail to live up to their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, 88 percent of all such resolutions end in failure, according to a 2007 research study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman.

To help you avoid that fate, we’ve compiled a collection of the most common mistakes people make and some tips to keep in mind as you take stock in your life and make your plans for a healthy, happy, and prosperous year ahead.

The Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Are

1. Making Unimportant Resolutions. Many people craft new year’s resolutions because it’s traditional to do so at the start of the year. As a result they make spur of the moment resolutions or otherwise choose goals that they don’t really care about. The process of crafting a new life for yourself can and should be a sacred act. If the process and the goal aren’t important, skip it. You’ll probably feel better for being authentic with your desire NOT to participate.

2. Inconsistent Vision. You haven’t crafted a vision for yourself that is consistent with who you truly are. Lots of people have gone to professional school before discovering they didn’t want to be lawyers, doctors, accountants. If you decide that you want to embark on a new life path, that’s great. But spend some time thinking about what is consistent with the person you are and the life path that will be truly fulfilling to you.

3. Poor Pattern Match. You are trying to bring about changes that don’t fit with the patterns you already have solidly in place for yourself. Let’s say your new chosen career path is to become an astronomer. But at the same time, you also have a deeply held pattern or belief system in place that you are not good at math. Unless you resolve the mismatch it could significantly undermine your ability to achieve your new goal.

4. Underlying Conflict. You have negative thoughts that are counter to what you say you want to achieve. This happens commonly. We want to bring about changes in our lives and we don’t realize the extent to which our own internal dialog interferes with the progress we want to make. For example, you may tell yourself that you want to go on dates and meet that one special person. And yet, you may also have a deeply held belief that you don’t deserve that kind of happiness, or that you are not attractive enough to find a mate. These are sabotaging internal negative thoughts that need to be rooted out and addressed so that you can truly open yourself up to the change you want.

5. Making Unrealistic Resolutions. Sure you want to be happy, healthy, and independently wealthy. Most people do. But are the Ferrari, multi-million dollar bank account, and villa in the South of France realistic? It’s good to have stretch goals, but grandiose dreams can undermine you as easily as they can inspire you. Success comes quicker when you set goals that are attainable. You can always build on them over time.

6. Not Being Specific. If you’re not specific about your goal, how will you know if you’ve achieved it? Rather than picking a vague goal such as losing weight, chose a specific amount such as 20 pounds (9 kilos). Better yet, make it time dependent as well, such as losing all the weight by April 1. This way you can check your progress against your deadline.

7. No Intermediate Goals. Big goals are something to strive for, but they’re more easily achieved if you break them into steps. To continue the weight loss example, you could break the goal down into 5 pounds per month. That way you can monitor your progress and make adjustments as you go along. This also allows you the benefit of feeling incremental success as you go.

8. Going It Alone. Doing something by yourself can often be more difficult than doing it with the support of others. Success comes faster when you share your goals with other people. Not only does this increase your sense of accountability, it also helps you find the tools and assistance you need to get the job done, whether that’s a study buddy, a gym membership, or a learning annex course. Make sure you choose people you know will be supportive of your goal, and who will help you and not hinder or sabotage your efforts.

9. Selecting an Inaccessible Role Model. You may look up to a movie star, sports figure, or politician. But unless you have their personal cell phone number, they’re probably not someone you can count on for support. Instead, see if you can find someone to mentor you who has already achieved or done what you’re trying to do.

10. All or Nothing Mentality. So what if you fall short of your goal. Just because it takes a little longer to achieve it doesn’t mean you won’t get there. Treat lapses and missed deadlines as temporary. Don’t give up. Just readjust. Most importantly, don’t use your perceived failure as an opportunity (excuse) to give up altogether. Use it as a chance to learn more about yourself and what works best for you, and keep up the good work. You can do this.

And a Few Extra Suggestions

That’s our top 10, but as a bonus here are a few more suggestions to help increase your chances of success.

1. Really take some time to reflect. Meditate, journal, sit quietly and ask yourself which aspects of your life you truly desire to change. Think about each of the most meaningful characteristics of your life and reflect on them independently: your work, health, family, friends, living situation, etc. Reflect and write about what the ideal situation looks and feels like to you.

2. Ask yourself what your reasons are for wanting to make these changes. This is the time for honesty and openness with yourself. You may be surprised at what comes up for you when you reflect on this question. Don’t be shy with yourself. This step will help you to focus your attention and become clear about what changes you really do want.

3. Consider why you may not have been able to make these changes in the past. Think about any internal blockages, negative belief systems, or negative thought patterns that could be sabotaging your efforts to bring about the change you desire.

4. Set realistic goals for yourself. If you decide that you want to get more exercise, don’t begin by telling yourself that you are going to work out at the gym for two hours every day. Set a goal that is a noticeable increase over the amount of exercise you currently get. When you achieve that, increase it from there. That way you are more likely to experience success, which will encourage you further.

5. Commit yourself to taking action. In order to do this, it is very helpful to tell someone else about your goal.  Saying it out loud makes it much more powerful than keeping it to yourself. It takes your idea from the realm of internal thought into the reality of daylight.  Again, choose someone who you know will be supportive, and who will hold you accountable or help to remind you of your commitment.

An Extra Special Bonus

At Higher Self Guides, we use a wonderful tool to help clarify and create our new life vision. It’s called a Vision Board. It’s been used in many parts of the world for many years to help enhance the imaginative and visionary process that underlies creation and manifestation, especially when it comes to creating the life that you truly desire.

We would like to share this tool with you. So, we will be offering a free, one-hour teleconference on How to Manifest the Life You Want with Vision Boards. The details are noted below.

How to Manifest the Life You Want with Vision Boards

Date: Thursday, January 7, 2010
Time: 7:00 pm MOUNTAIN time. Find your time zone.
Cost: Free. It’s Our Gift to You

To Register: Click here

We hope you’ll join us to learn how this tool can propel you along your way, and hear from others who have been successful in using this fantastic tool.

We wish you a new year filled with all that your heart desires,

photo of Matthew and Janet Joyce
Matthew and Janet Joyce

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