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5 Strategies to Beat Quitters Day and Achieve Your Goals
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5 Strategies to Beat Quitters Day and Achieve Your Goals

Does this sound like you?

“2024 seemed to start off right, but now it’s February, and I have no desire to work on my resolutions I was so ambitious to achieve this year.”

You’re certainly not alone; most people ditch their New Year’s resolutions by January 17th, coined as “Quitter’s Day.” Being someone who has fallen prey to this statistic, I decided to unpack this phenomenon and explore why people abandon their resolutions so early in the year and why people put so much emphasis on Jan. 1st as the only day to “start fresh.”


Quitter’s Day: The Day When Resolutions Tend to Die

I think of New Year’s resolutions as a promise people make to themselves to start doing something good or stop doing something bad. Here’s the science behind why it’s tough for so many people to stick to these promises past January 17th:

Making Big Changes is Hard

Imagine you decide to start doing all your work the day it’s assigned, but you’ve always waited until the last minute. It’s a big change, and if you try to change too much too fast, it might be too hard to keep up.

New Year’s resolutions often tie back to behavior changes that require consistent effort and self-discipline. Many people set unrealistic goals or lack a concrete plan, leading to early setbacks and ultimately total abandonment altogether.

Positive Goals vs. Negative Goals

Research shows that people who create approach-oriented goals, such as starting something new, are significantly more successful than those with avoidance-oriented goals, such as to stop eating junk food. This means framing a resolution to be positive can increase the likelihood of you following through and creating lasting habits.

The Fresh Start Effect

January 1 is symbolic as the ultimate “fresh start.” New calendar, new you. It makes sense to some degree, having a specific date you can look forward to and prepare for. People are more likely to go all in on their resolutions and even start them vigorously. Alternatively, that may also be why they’re less likely to stick.

As research suggests, approaching each month as a fresh start and making small changes toward your resolutions creates a better chance for lasting success.

>> So, how can you set yourself up for better success with your New Year’s resolutions and avoid being a statistic on Quitter’s Day? First, acknowledge how big of a change you’re trying to make and set realistic expectations. Start small and check in monthly, treating every month like a fresh start. Make sure your goals are framed around positivity versus negativity, focus on what you’re gaining instead of what you’re losing.

Breaking Down Resolutions, Goals, and Intentions

Now that we understand how to fuel and nurture our resolutions, or promises we make to ourselves, it’s time to break down how resolutions tie into goals and intentions.

Now, let’s talk about goals, specifically career-oriented goals. Think of a goal you choose to set as a career milestone—the significant, specific thing you’re working toward. It could be achieving a certain position, completing a project, or learning a new skill. Goals provide direction; they're the roadmap for your career journey. When you set a goal, you’re essentially saying, “This is where I want to be, and here’s how I plan to get there.”

Picture the game of life, where you have certain checkpoints along the way. These are your milestones.

Set resolutions that tie into the big thing you’re trying to achieve. Maybe it’s a skill you need to develop (the resolution) to get the promotion (the goal).

Intentions can be a powerful way to tap into motivation, productivity, and overall happiness. Setting daily intentions helps to clarify your goals for the day, making it easier for you to stay focused and motivated. Even when we want to eat better, sometimes we end up snacking on junk food. Setting daily intentions about what you’re going to eat can help you stay on track and make healthier choices. It’s like setting a reminder on your phone to complete a task; the reminder helps you do what you intended to do.

>> Make it a point to set daily intentions that tie into your resolutions and goals. Use things like daily planners or use a plethora of modern tech available to you, such as reminders on your phone, or apps specifically designed to help track your daily intentions.

Final Thoughts

Just because you’ve stumbled a bit with your resolutions doesn’t mean you’re off the game. As the adage goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Think of your career journey as a marathon. Sometimes, you might need to slow down, reassess your pace, or even take a different path to reach the finish line. If you’re motivated more by a specific start date, use the 1st day of a new month instead of January 1.

Here are 5 strategies to help you turn it around:

1. Be realistic: It’s awesome to aim high, but if you’re setting goals that are way out of reach, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Setting goals that stretch you thin from the get-go is like trying to run a marathon without any training. Break down your big dreams into smaller, manageable goals that act as checkpoints along the way.

2. Every day is a new page: Who said January must be the only time for new beginnings? Every day you flip the page of your planner is a chance to start fresh. If yesterday didn’t go as planned, today offers a blank page to script your comeback.

3. Focus on the positives: Frame your goals around what you want to add to your life, rather than what you’re trying to cut out. Transform “I need to network more” into “I’m expanding my professional circle.” It’s about embracing growth and new opportunities.

4. Break it down: Think about your big goals and what small, daily actions can get you there. Want that promotion? Set a daily intention to tackle one skill or task that gets you closer.

5. Create your toolkit: A physical daily planner, your smartphone, or laptop are more than just work tools; they can serve as your allies in staying on track. Set reminders for your small daily goals, be strategic by time blocking your work, use apps to check your progress, and let your toolkit support your journey.

Remember, the only person you’re competing with is who you were yesterday. So, dust off those resolutions, find new ones that make your heart race, and let’s make this year your comeback story. Keep moving forward, one step at a time, and you’ll not only reach your goals but also enjoy the journey along the way.

>> Learn how Friday Afternoons Co. can support your journey with daily planners and our life-changing time management framework detailed in the 30-page 40-Hour Workweek Handbook.

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