Why Resolutions Don't Work
Happy New Year Yall!
We survived 2020!! That alone is something to celebrate.
It is that time of year to look ahead and make some goals. I know we are all hesitant to buy a 2021 planner and feeling a little anxiety after the year we’ve had.
But it is January and we must soldier on.
Sometimes I feel like, we as humans are, gluttons for stress and punishment. We push ourselves hard during the Christmas season to make it memorable and amazing for our families. Then within the course of one week we are supposed to make plans and major changes in our lives, called resolutions. That apparently ‘have’ to start’ on the first day of January.
Why do we do this to ourselves??
Marketing companies spend MILLIONS of dollars researching how the brain works so that we feel pressured and motivated to buy whatever they’re trying to sell us. The same goes for the idea of a “New Year” and making Resolutions.
Look at the success of Extreme Makeover- whatever addition, Fixer Upper and a whole host of other reality shows. We as human being love to watch a transformation. Something that makes a change for the better is often a source of hope and joy for our human nature. We strive for change, and goals give us purpose, which is what makes the idea of resolutions so appealing.
But Why Don’t Resolutions Work??
Studies show that only 8% of Americans who make a New Year's resolution actually keep them all year and 80% have failed by the start of February. Clinical Psychologist Joseph J. Luciani, Ph. D, says most resolutions fail due to sabotage caused by a lack of self-discipline.
I disagree with Dr. Luciani, in that I don’t think it’s so much about Self-discipline as it’s about setting large goals without making a plan and celebrating the little wins along the way.
When we make a big goal of ‘eating healthy”, the goal is so big that by February we’ve had enough little hiccups in the goal to make us give up completely.
A few years ago I was trying to make some health changes, and I knew I wanted to start it in the New Year. In the course of one week after the post-Christmas crash was the cultural expectation to begin my Resolution, and I just about had an anxiety attack. Then in some epiphany, I said to myself, Why does this have to start on the first day of January. I know myself, and know if I rush this and not have a plan I will fail. So I said I would use the month of January to plan the changes that needed to happen. Whoa! Pressure released and a little flexibility to make a plan to succeed.
This was a big game changer for me, because aren’t these Resolutions and changes for me anyway not society?
Take a moment. Take a breath, and think about the changes you want to make this year. A little change is good from time to time.
But don’t be pressured to make changes on someone else’s timeline. You know you. You know what you need to do to succeed, or you know what leads to you opting out. Letting go of societies pressures is the first step toward success. Then come back next week as we talk about how to make a large goal possible.