| Peter Cook

Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?

Introduction

It is human nature. A new year equals a clean slate. You feel positive and are willing to make some changes in your life. You dream big!  But, halfway through February, you are back in the old groove.   

Why is it? Why do new year’s resolutions fail?   

In this four-part series, we examine first the 'why,' then the 'how to change,' and we end with a few success stories. It is possible to stick with your new year's resolutions!

'I want to lose weight.'

How much weight do you need to lose? How are you going to accomplish this goal? Is it realistic to try and do it in two months? Are you going to do it on your own or with help? What are your options?

The same type of questions can be asked for any New Year’s resolution or goal.  

On track to achieve your goal.

Resolutions need to be very specific to be effective. It would help if you had ways to mark your progress. A detailed and concrete plan is hard to walk away from.

New Year’s resolutions often fail because they are too vague.  

 Resolutions are often negative statements.

 ‘Stop eating junk food.’

It fails because – not only is it vague, but also because it reminds you of the very thing you are aiming not to do. You are thinking about that Big Mac already.

Reframe the statement to a positive one: ‘I will limit myself to one junk food treat a month.’

Rome was not built in one day.

New Year’s resolutions fail because people want to see immediate results.   It is not realistic.   

If you can only make one positive change in a week and keep adding to it, it is a much more genuine change than trying to remodel all your bad habits immediately.

Be kind to yourself.

If you genuinely want to change some of your habits, take the time to think and plan it out. Real changes will be hard – there is no quick solution.   

Resolutions fail because you want to hurry things along. Self-reflecting is essential – but don't get stuck on it! There is also a time to stop thinking and start doing.

New Year’s resolutions also fail because: 

  • You doubt that you can see the changes through.
  • You add stress to your life, instead of trying to remove it.
  • You don’t tailor tasks to reflect your personality
  • You overwhelm yourself with too much, too fast
  • Discouragement sets in and you don’t know how to handle it
  • You are not 100% ready to commit yet

Conclusion

Knowledge is power

Now that you know why resolutions often fail, you can focus on how to make them stick.  

It is important to note that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' method to go about achieving your dreams. It is instead a mindset, a willingness to change, and to do better.

In our next two blogs, we'll give some tips on how you can stick to your resolutions. There are some tried and tested methods and ideas that might inspire you.

Resources

 

https://www.businessinsider.co.za/new-years-resolutions-failure-advice-jonathan-alpert-2018-12?r=US&IR=T

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-new-years-resolutions-fail.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail

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