New Year’s resolutions are one of the biggest obsessions of today’s world.
We’re usually against ideas that are so commercial, and try to stay out of what everyone else seems to be doing. But somehow – often unconsciously – we fall into the trap of deciding to change every December, and then giving up in January.
That’s the case most of the times. And it leads to regrets, disappointments, going back to old habits, and often indulging in bad behaviors even more.
And in order to fix that, we should first understand why new year’s resolutions fail so bad.
Here are the main reasons:
Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?
We set many goals.
Our mind is programmed to focus on one thing at a time, and 1-3 big things in general at any phase in our life.
And when we try to make changes in 3 different areas, or to go after 5 goals at once, or to replace 2 bad habits with good ones, we fail.
The solution is simple. Choose one thing and do it right this time.
We crave big transformations.
Not only do we want to change many things at once, but we also make them big. Which makes it even more impossible to achieve without getting overwhelmed and stressed.
Another key ingredient to successfully changing our behavior – besides doing one thing at a time – is starting small.
So concentrate on one resolution this year, and break it down into achievable and easy steps. Then start with the first one.
We don’t prepare.
Most people don’t think about big changes until December comes, and then it’s too late to plan things carefully so they just rush into it and decide to do or not to do something from January on.
But that’s a wrong approach to new year’s resolutions, and it’s another reason why they fail.
Planning and preparation, however, don’t need to take a lot of time and energy. But if done properly, can save you a lot of worries and disappointments in the future.
So take a pen and paper and write down the one thing you want to change the most in your life. Think of all you need to do to get there. Set a deadline if you want to for each of the steps.
Plan out the changes you need to make in your daily life so that it can fit perfectly there. Set a time each day for taking this step. Think of what reminders you can use so that you don’t forget it.
We want fast results.
Not only do we want many and big transformations, but we want that to happen fast.
Those who plan on getting fit want to have lost weight by the end of January. Others want to be out of debt by that time.
But it doesn’t work like that. Resolutions need time to become a reality, and to be a permanent part of your new lifestyle, not just a temporary phase.
So give it time. Be patient. Have the end goal in mind and visualize success, but don’t be in a hurry.
We don’t want it bad enough.
Most people don’t really want to make the changes they think about in December. A good self-analysis of your dreams and goals is needed at this point, so that you don’t end up chasing something that won’t make you happy even if you reach it soon.
Be honest with yourself. Define your ideal life and see how it differs from your current one. Then take a firm decision to change one aspect first, and eliminate distractions.
Be sure you truly want it before you do anything, though.
Our motivation is short-term.
As a result of everything else listed above, we don’t have the right type of motivation. And to make a big change like a new year’s resolution, we should stay consistent and motivated for months.
To do that, always be reminded of your why. Assuming you’ve found a solution to reason #5 and are after something you actually desire, then keep the end result in mind all the time.
Once you get back to your normal daily life in January, you may quickly forget about the transformation you promised you’ll make in the new year. And will easily get back to your old habits.
But the desire to change won’t go away. As once you had it, it means you’re not satisfied with a certain aspect of your life. And until you do something about it, you won’t feel happy and at ease.
So make sure you stay motivated no matter what. Taking small steps daily towards you goal will help you see progress soon, and that’s one way to be inspired to keep going.
So that’s why we haven’t mastered keeping resolutions and usually fail. But this year might be different. It’s all up to you.
What’s your new year’s resolution? And how can you make sure you stick to it?
Image by Luis Hernandez @Flickr
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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