“This year, I’ll become a totally new person! My resolutions will be so great!”
Okay, maybe we don’t have this much enthusiasm to change, but I’m pretty sure that most of us have had at least some excitement for making resolutions. But we never know what’s about to hit us after the year ends. The momentary determination in our minds as we put together a daunting list of goals is short lived as we cross over to a new world. Filling our days with abstinence and discipline, we torture ourselves. We fight on for a few more days, thinking that this is for the best–to become a better person. And then we start to break rules. Things fall apart. And the grandiose vision of ourselves that we’ve magnificently constructed on January 1st eventually shatters, now replaced by a bland image of our current selves, with no improvements whatsoever.
Our motivation falls, but surely, this is much more than just a coincidence if over 90% of people that make new year’s resolutions encounter this phenomenon (Gregoire). This has been a continuous struggle especially for me, which is why I want to share my top 3 reasons on why new year’s resolutions never work out.
- You’re fighting alone.
I would like to ask you, “What’s going to happen if you stop committing to your goals?” Nothing, right? Many people fail to recognize that if there are no consequences to giving up, then they don’t have the motivation to work anymore. You may have friends or family encouraging you from the sidelines, but you’ll just end up with a pat on the back and some words of reassurement when you quit. Nobody is going to do anything. And nobody will care. In other words, you need to make sure to keep yourself in check. Get someone to keep track of your progress and act accordingly based on how well you’re keeping up with your own expectations. Sticking to resolutions with the help of a friend is a great way to ensure that neither of you strays off track, but it is crucial that both of you are willing to discipline each other if necessary. Keeping someone else in check is a lot easier than keeping yourself in check.
- You don’t take things step by step.
Imagine you’re a baby, just barely able to crawl. In your little newborn mind, you suddenly have the burning desire to run, and you set it as your goal. Notice something wrong here? Obviously, the baby is dreaming too high. It is simply just unrealistic for a newborn to start sprinting across halls when it can’t even stand, much less walk! Like this baby, we usually overestimate ourselves into thinking that we can make drastic changes overnight. Everything that I’ve managed to change has always happened over the course of months and years, where I’ve concentrated on slow, gradual transitions from one trait to another. I try to make small goals every day that act as stepping stones to long-term achievement. It helps me get used to living differently, unlike the sudden shock I receive when I start taking great leaps into foreign lifestyles. This procedure will take more patience, but in the long run, I found myself adjusting much more rapidly and easily than ever before.
- You don’t work on what really matters to you.
I think this is the most important reason when setting goals. I used to jot down all possible improvements I can make for the year: working out, studying harder, being more socially active, participating in more clubs/activities, and the list goes on. But this situation is where the statement “quality over quantity” comes into play. I didn’t reflect on what I needed to prioritize in my life and instead ended up mindlessly dumping every possible goal I could think of onto a sheet of paper. A lot of my goals could have just as well applied to anyone else, so filtering through these goals to pick out ones that are unique to your needs ensures that you’ll be determined to follow through to your resolutions. It will also bring you the most satisfaction when you finally complete them.
In conclusion, regardless of the monumental obstacles that stack against you when you make resolutions, you’ll never achieve anything unless you have the courage to take action. You can be confident and believe in yourself all you want, but none of these tips will even remotely help you unless you start something now. Chances are, New Year’s day isn’t anytime soon by the time you read this article, so instead of waiting for the next January 1st, why not make some resolutions right now?
Andrew, Elise. “The Psychology Of New Year’s Resolutions.” IFLScience, IFLScience, 15 Aug. 2016, www.iflscience.com/brain/psychology-new-year-s-resolutions/.
Gregoire, Carolyn. “A Nutritionist’s Advice For Making Health Resolutions That Won’t Fail.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 3 Jan. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-years-resolutions-psychology_us_5862d599e4b0d9a59459654c.