Why New Year’s Resolutions seldom works

I was doing a study to see why New Year resolutions don’t always manifest as permanent change in our lives.  I have been struggling year in and year out with the same challenges, and trying to stick to my New Year’s resolution did not last very long.

Statistics show that if you make a New Year’s resolution on 1 January, there is an 80% chance that you will have given up on it by Valentine’s Day.  Why is that?  Because willpower alone and a vague idea of how to achieve your goal is just not good enough. Many times resolutions are fuzzy promises to yourself: “Maybe I must try to become fit this year.”  Some New Year’s resolutions are not meaningful and are too vague: “lose weight”, “reduce debt” or “be happier”.

Perhaps you …

·         Just forget about it when the year gets busier and the workload becomes more demanding.

·         Do not find the time for it.

·         Deep down you know it will not make you happy at all (don’t become something you are not).

·         Don’t realize that it is a wish and not a goal. Something else is stopping you. For example, you want to reduce debt, but school has creative ways to raise money and you don’t want your child to lose out; or you just cannot survive without spending all your extra cash on cigarettes or gambling or the Lotto.

·         Don’t have a support system. You are all alone in this.

·         Set too many goals at one time and loose motivation because it is just too much to handle.

·         Want it to come naturally and are not willing to do the hard work to achieve the goals.

·         Procrastinate and plan to start next week, when next week comes, you will start the week thereafter.

·         Are so mad at yourself, after the first failure, you just let it go.

·         Are halfway there, but quit just before the finish line.

·         Know subconsciously it is not the right time for this specific change.

·         THINK this is what you should do.

When I look back at my life, I can recognise each of these points at one time or another. Willpower alone is not enough. It is exceptionally hard to make life changes, plus our efforts are usually doomed to failure when we try to do it on our own.

I want to tell you there is hope.  Stay tuned and read the next two parts in this series of three posts.

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