New Year resolutions are about turning over a new leaf and making improvements in our lives. Most resolutions involve becoming healthier in some way, and getting out of debt. However, they are really hard to stick to, and about 80% of people fail to keep their resolutions for longer than six weeks.
Why is this? Psychologists say it’s due to several factors:
Overthinking how hard it’s going to be
We are more likely to stick to our new habits if we get immediate rewards from them, but this may be unrealistic. We’re more likely to succeed if we can win the inner battle between what we want to do and what we should do. If we can think how good it will be to eat a salad instead of a takeaway meal, or how invigorating it will be to go for a run rather than sitting on the couch, then we’re more likely to enjoy our new life.
Biting off more than we can chew
It’s not realistic to expect to go from doing nothing to achieving everything we want. Instead of making your goal all encompassing and abstract like, 'be healthy' or 'have more friends', try being specific. Set yourself just one goal such as 'go to the gym 3 times a week' or 'attend one social event each week'.
Doing what others want
This is not a formula for success. Trying to make change based on how we think other people want us to be is not going to work. You have to truly want to change if you're going to stick to your goal for more than a few months. Instead, think of goals that will make you happy - and you'll find them much easier to sustain.
Giving ourselves 'out' clauses
The “should” word is a major part of the problem, and may be the key to what holds us back. “Should” implies that something is a possibility rather than a reality. If I substitute “will” for “should”, then my intention becomes far more positive.
We can make resolutions at any time
Rather than waiting for the New Year, how about making some healthy changes today? Start off small and stay committed to making these things happen. But most importantly, make goals for things that will actually make you happy. To stay focused, avoid using “should” words. Don't worry about your healthy decisions, and instead go about putting them into action in an enjoyable way. Enjoyment is the key to success!
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