It’s that time of the year when making new year resolutions for the next year is on everybody’s minds. Be it regarding career, health, fitness or social life – everybody want to be a bigger, better person in the new year.
2015 will be your BEST YEAR YET. That’s what you’re thinking right?
But I’m here to burst your bubble, backed up by science and psychology. Hear me out…
New statistics show that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and those who don’t usually abandon them after just one week. The ones that are most fated to fail are the unrealistic resolutions. This is because there’s a scientific proof of how it takes up to three weeks (21 days) to break a habit, so whether you’re wanting to stop smoking or wake up every day without hitting the snooze button, then at least give it 21 days for your mind and body to adjust to the change.
Not Enough Mental Strength
Another reason why resolutions are destined to fail is your mind not being strong enough to handle failure. If your New Year’s resolution is to eat less, but you have no plan in place — or even if you do have a plan and you fail — you will do damage to your sense of self-worth. If you already have a complicated relationship with food, your likely coping mechanism for failure is eating more food. Thus the New Year’s resolution to eat less can actually result in your eating more. Ditto for drinking, drug use, smoking, finding a mate, exercising, etc.
Too Date Specific
One of the biggest problems with resolution is that when you tie your behavioural change to a specific date, you rob yourself of an opportunity to fail and recover. If you believe that you can only change in the New Year and there’s no scope before or after that, then when do you fail, you’ll have to give it a whole year again before you give your ‘resolution’ another chance.
So, What Can You Do As An Alternative?
Instead of listing an abstract goal like “lose weight,” think more specific. Set goals that are more attainable and focussed, this way if you fail at any of these small steps, you can recover from it sooner. You wouldn’t want to give it all together. Don’t associate your goals to any specific date, and don’t wait a year to start again if and when you slip up.
Do you set New Year resolutions? Why do you they work or don’t work?