It’s right around the corner; the first day of the New Year and everything is going to be different from now on. How often have we told ourselves this? More importantly, how often have we told ourselves this, but ended up failing miserably within the first few days or weeks, and then we’re right back to our old routine? Why do so many Americans want to do something good in their lives, but then it winds up falling apart?

I have a few thoughts on the subject.

Change is hard – We’re creatures of habit, and when things don’t follow the same routine day after day, we tend to panic. We don’t like getting out of our comfort zone to try something new. I believe that’s why so many people live their lives envious of rock stars, athletes and actors. Those people took the path not chosen, put in the hard work, and became successful at it. There is a saying that the average overnight success took ten years to happen. If you want to stick to that resolution and achieve your goal, be prepared to put in the hard work that most people may not see.

Lack of support – Misery loves company. Sometimes people see you doing a good thing in your life and it makes them feel bad about what they’re not doing in their own. They may try to sabotage you. It may be consciously or unconsciously, but it will probably happen. A friend may tell you to skip a workout to go out for a greasy meal. A coworker may tell you you look unhealthy because you’re dropping unwanted weight. Your family may even ask why you’re doing this to yourself. You can’t let that hold you back. You will get plenty of positive reinforcement as well, and that’s what you need to focus on to keep you moving forward.

Setting the bar too high – If your resolution is to make $1 million next year, and your salary is only $35,000, you may want to adjust your goal. It could happen, but the odds are against you in an example like this. For a large goal like this, break it down into smaller goals. Maybe making $45,000 next year is a better option, plus saving $5,000 on the side. These goals will be easier to achieve and help keep your drive going, especially when you realize that you are attaining these goals.

Diving in too quickly – This is especially prominent with people who resolve to work out more. They’re at the gym 6 days a week, after months or years of not working out, and then within a few weeks, they’re done. Every January through February you can see this in any gym. Pace yourself. You will find that you’re not as sore (and that’s what usually keeps people from coming back) and you will see results with consistency.

Procrastination – I don’t see why we have to wait for a new year to make positive changes in our lives.

There’s no time like the present to follow that dream you’ve always had in the back of your mind.

If you’ve got a New Year’s Resolution waiting to happen, don’t let it go by the wayside like so many others have done. Put in the hard work, stick to it and keep pressing forward. You may find that it’s much easier to improve your life than you ever could have imagined.

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