New Year’s Resolutions Are A Problem Rather Than a Solution

This year I resolve to:

  • Win $1,000,000
  • Climb Mt. Everest
  • Become CEO

New Year’s resolutions are more often than not (for a lot of us), a failure. According to researchers, the first two weeks of January are resolution feel good time.  However, by week three most of us are slipping and sliding, with many back to square one by March. Why?

Unrealistic Resolutions

For example, my aforementioned resolutions are simply unrealistic, and though they may seem overtly so, many people’s more sedate resolutions are almost as impractical.  It’s not possible to positively reaffirm resolutions that you know deep down are going to be impossible to hit.  This means it is impossible to keep these resolutions, and even setting them can be damaging to your self-esteem.

Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes people believe that if they lose weight or sort out money worries that their lives will become all the more fulfilled or even entirely changed for the better.  This is seldom the case.  Imagine yourself at your goal weight – really imagine it.  Do you think you will love different people, do you think you will laugh at different things? Nope – neither do I.  Losing weight will not fundamentally change who we are – it is not an answer to everything.  Sometimes this realization creates a ‘why bother’ attitude and people revert back to their old ways.

People Resist Change

Many people come up with resolutions without thinking of the full implication on their lifestyle.  Most do not consider the root of the problem or the bad habits that create the problem in the first place.  This makes for a fundamental flaw in changing their ways, and in turn, creates a high rate of failure.

How To Change

I know I have just given resolutions a bit of a bashing; it doesn’t have to be this way.  Here are some tips to make them work:

  • Focus on one resolution.
  • Be specific about resolutions.  Deciding to lose weight is too loose of a goal; losing seven pounds in two months is not.
  • Small steps are central to success.  Create a plan with several smaller steps or milestones and you’ll be likely to reach the overall goal.
  • When you do reach milestones – CELEBRATE!!!! – each one is a success in itself.
  • Focus on new behaviors.  You have to create new thought patterns to change a habit.  Changing habits is about trying new things instead of ‘not trying to do’ old things.
  • Remain in the present – there is always something you can do right now towards meeting your goal.
  • Have someone you can report your success and failures to.  Tell people about your goals.  This accountability increases your chances of success.
  • Learn to let go.  You will slip, you will fall, and you will have setbacks.  However, don’t take yourself too seriously or get too down.  Remember, the mark of success is not how few times you fall down, it is the number of times you get back up.