New Year’s is often the perfect time to start a new page in your life, which is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions. But why do so many resolutions fail?
Researchers have looked at success rates of people’s’ resolutions: the first two weeks usually go along perfectly but by February, people are backsliding and by the following December, most people are back where they started, often even further behind. Why do so many people not keep their resolutions? A professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada says that “resolutions are a form of cultural procrastination, an effort to reinvent oneself.” People use resolutions as a way of motivating themselves to change even though deep down, they aren’t really ready to change their habits, especially bad habits. Another reason resolutions fail is because people set unrealistic goals and expectations.
Psychology professor Peter Herman identified what he calls “false hope syndrome,” which means the resolution is simply unrealistic and out of line with one’s views of themselves. Unfortunately, people make promises that they never really believe that they will achieve. This not only sets them up for failure but can also be damaging to their self-esteem.
A final aspect of failed resolutions lies in the cause and effect relationship. You may think that if you lose weight, reduce your debts, or exercise more, your entire life will change, and when it doesn’t, you may get discouraged and return to old behaviors.
There is good news though, resolutions do not have to fail! In order for them to work you have to change the way you look at them. Here are some tips to help:
- Focus on one resolution rather than several
- Set realistic, specific goals: losing weight is not a specific goal; losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be
- Don’t wait till New Year’s Eve to make resolutions, make it a year long process-every day
- Take small steps – many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big of a step all at once
- Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you that you have to report to
- Celebrate your success between milestones – don’t wait for the goal to be completed
- Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits
- Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
- Be mindful: become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each event happens…moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future
- And finally, don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun and laugh at yourself when you slip, but don’t let the slip hold you back from working at your goal.
If better health is one of your resolutions this year, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation and introductory workout. One of our certified personal trainers and/or nutritionist can help you get started and reach your fitness goals. 770-330-2126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.bodyrichfitness.com
Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutritionist, Exercise Therapy Specialist
Bodyrich Fitness Company