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Why New Year Resolutions Fail

Now that Christmas Day is behind us, our immediate next thought is The New Year. Along with the idea of The New Year is the notion of change. Whether it be to finally lose those last 10lbs- hanging on like a stage 5 clinger, beginning the dreadful work out routine - with 0 desire to do, quitting smoking, improving your health, getting to sleep earlier...I could go on for a long time. Fact is, we set ourselves up for failure. Our goals are either too broad or too obscure and we never actually reach for them


However, there is good news. Here are 5 easy steps to start the New Year off right and make 2023 the year your resolutions turn into changes:



Step 1: Develop Short Term Goals first

Truth is, your subconscious brain only knows what it knows. Your subconscious brain knows habits, routines...comfort stuff. The whole job of your subconscious mind is to protect you from all those yucky places that have feelings, people and "ugh" in them.

Start your resolution list before New Years or even slightly after. Start your goals off small, so if you want to lose 10lbs, simply make your New Years resolution to move your body for 30 mins a day. Sounds easy, right? That is because it seems like a small task and for people like me who bite off WAY more than they can chew, small tasks are amazing at making me feel accomplished.


Step 2. Ask yourself "Why do I want this change?"

This will probably be the most uncomfortable part of the whole process. Sit with your thoughts for a moment and listen to your own answer. If you are wanting to change your lifestyle, asking yourself why is the best place to start. If you hear things such as: "you can do better then this" or "you used to take such great care of yourself", then you may need to reach out to a coach, friend or professional, these are soundtracks that are plaguing your brain. They will inevitably fail you, until you take control of your own mind.


Step 3. Who is holding you accountable?

I am not one to be told what to do, (honestly, I will buck you like a bronco if you start bossing me around) however, the idea of "checking in" with someone I trust and that knows my weaknesses and strengths makes things easier. Left on our own, the minute we feel any type of resistance, we falter and failure is not that far away. Begin the year with 1 or 2 friends, colleagues or even a coach that will help you attain those goals. I wouldn't be where I am today without my accountability partners.



Step 4: Alter your timeline

Don’t necessarily wait for the new year to make a resolution. Bas Verplanken, a professor of social psychology at the University of Bath, says that the success of a resolution which alters a habit can hinge on finding the right moment to make the change. When you are in flow (as it has been called) everything works easier for you. Last year when I decided to give up my addiction to coffee, I did it on January 3rd, because it made sense to me. It was a smart decision for me, which meant I would be able to stick to it.


Step 5 Power to be________

Every year I begin my year with a "word". Most years I hear it clear as day, but this year, it was later and more subtle. In years past, I have heard "discipline", "change", "growth" and this year, I heard "courageous". This is more of the mindset that we spoke about earlier as you have the power to be whatever you set your intentions to be. Choose your word, whether it be from scripture, a great book, a podcast or even the nightly news.


Interesting statistics

2019 Statistics

  • 57% chose not to make a New Year’s resolution for 2019.

  • The most popular resolutions going into 2019 were to exercise more (59%), eat healthier (54%), save money (51%), and lose weight (48%).

2022 Statistics

  • Only 23% of survey participants planned on making new years resolutions.

  • The most popular resolutions for 2022 are living healthier (23%), personal improvement and happiness (21%), and losing weight (20%).



Sources:

https://www.uab.edu/news/youcanuse/item/5619-readiness-to-change-is-a-vital-facet-to-committing-to-new-year-s-resolutions

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.1151

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/0k4kb2wehk/Results%20for%20YouGov%20RealTime%20(New%20Year_s%20Resolutions)%20327%2012.19.xlsx%20%20[Group].pdf

http://spsp.org/news-center/press-releases/resolution-habits

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