The start of the New Year brings about a new sense of willingness to change – habits, lifestyle, routine. It is the perfect time to turn a new page in your life, and thus brings about New Year’s resolutions.
Research has shown that only 8% of people stick to their New Years Resolutions. Only 75% of resolutions continue till the first two weeks of January, and about 46% make it past the six months. By December, most people are either back where they started or further behind; meaning most of your friends and people around you won’t be following through with their resolutions. Why is it that so many people can’t stick to their resolutions? Is it lack of will or just plain laziness?
One of the major reason why New Years resolutions fail is because when we make the resolutions, we imagine a different future for ourselves and when we put the resolutions to practice, they conflict with the version of us that is in the present; the present that has made those same resolutions. In simpler words, when we make the resolutions, there is a future version of us that is imagining a better, more responsible individual, and a present version of us imagining that future. Here lies the problem – we ally ourselves with the future self and imagine that we will overcome all the shortcomings of the present self and thus in doing so, we produce a completely different future self.
Another reason why resolutions fail lies in the famous quote of Einstein, “The definition of insanity is to try the same things over and over again and expect different results.” People, every year, try to do the same thing and come up with the same resolutions, yet, after a few weeks they give up and lose interest. To cure this, there is a need to strategize and come up with a set of benchmarks every few days or weeks.
Lack of commitment is also what results in the failure of resolutions. The problem lies in the idea that you pick up a resolution that doesn’t hold much of an importance to you and try to make it happen. The resolution lacks personal relevance and thus runs out of steam. While initially there is a spurt of motivation, it isn’t sustainable.
What is needed, instead, is something which has value and is based on what matters to you and has importance in your life.
And then there are some resolutions that just aren’t meant to be. We sometimes adopt resolutions that are someone else’s by looking at other people or by reading about them on social media. We can never be motivated to carry out someone else’s expectations or trying to be someone or something that we aren’t. To better fulfil resolutions, it is important that we understand our own passion and interests and come up with resolutions more in line with out own desires.
In order to live a full life and to ensure that we stick to our resolutions, confidence is very important. Jump in with both feet. Don’t hold back. The only way a resolution can become permanent is when it is short termed, centered and focused. Instead of planning for the entire year, the resolution should be a short-term goal and in order to remain committed and motivated, it is important that the goals are visible. Keep a vision board that has pictures of your interests and passions that you can look at every day and which can remind you of your goals and targets. Congratulate yourself on every little progress that you make. Give yourself a pat on the back. Reward yourself. Celebrate every little achievement.
Make resolutions a year long process. Every day, come up with a small, achievable resolution instead of a big, difficult one that you may lose interest in. Do not wait till the New Year to come to make resolutions.