New Years Resolutions Don’t Work
Happy New Year! The beginning of the New Year almost always means resolutions. Writing a new date, putting down 2015, means you have a new start and you’re going to change everything in your life dramatically all at once. The problem is that its bound to fail and almost always fails.
I’ve been writing New Years Resolutions since I can remember. I mean at the age of 10 I remember doing my first resolution once it was explained to me. The only good thing about resolutions is the clarity of mind in which we can pinpoint all the things we want to change in our lives. On this point New Years resolutions are great, but they always fail, why is that?
It’s just too many changes in too short a period of time. Our minds simply can’t handle going from Zero to Hero instantly. Our willpower is limited, our conscious mind can only do so much, our addictions are too great, and the list goes on and on. A life change is what we want, but trying to have it all at once is what gets in the way.
I’ll give you an example of a failed resolution that I always had, how I approached the resolution, and why it failed. For as long as I could remember one resolution was to lose weight. On December 31st I would pig out, eat everything I wanted, and then on January 1st I would go cold turkey. Yeah that just never worked.
Write the epic New Years Resolution. I encourage that, but it’s the approach that needs to be changed. Don’t expect to change everything in a day. You just can’t do it. Your brain can’t handle it, your body can’t handle it, instead break down the bigger goals into smaller goals and don’t do too many goals all at once.
Let me break it down in some examples. A person wants to get fit in the New Year. They join a gym because they’re inspired, sure they haven’t worked out in years, but they’re going to go to do cardio 3 days a week and strength train 3 days a week. What happens is they get sore, they get tired, they start by missing one day because work sucked, and soon that gym membership is collecting dust.
Get fit in the New Year? Why not just start off small? Admit your limitations and work with them. If you haven’t been exercising in years, start off with something you can handle, like walking. Just make sure that you do it everyday, nothing extreme to start, get a pedometer or a fitness tracker, and just say everyday I’m going to walk 200 steps. No matter what you have to walk 200 steps. I’m not talking about the steps you take to go to the bathroom, walking to your car, things like that. I mean you set aside 5 minutes a day to walk. Regularly increase that time, say, every two weeks add 5 minutes until you get up to 30 minutes of walking in a day.
From there increase the intensity of those 30 minutes. Let’s say you can only walk half a mile in 30 minutes, that’s pretty slow actually, lol, but lets say you make a goal to walk 1 mile in 30 minutes. 2 miles in 30 minutes? From there you want to increase the intensity further, but because you eased into this change it will stick. It becomes a habit and that’s the holy grail of accomplishing a resolution, because once it becomes a habit your brain will go on autopilot. Your subsconscious mind takes over and you no longer have to struggle to do something because it’s a habit.
Diet is another popular New Years resolution, but instead of going from Cupcakes to Salad, you should break it down to smaller parts. First step, knowledge is power, so start keeping a diet journal, write the calories out, understand those things that are making you gain weight. That’s the first habit you work on, writing what you eat accurately, cause knowing the enemy is the first step. Once you start writing out your calories, just pick one or two things to change, like if you’re getting 6 mocha grande, whatever, from Starbucks, that might be a place to start the reduction. For me it was Soda, I realized it was a problem, and I slowly weened myself off it, but it was a slow process. Going cold turkey almost never works.
The final thing is the stacking of resolutions. Diet, exercise, etc, etc, etc. You basically can’t change your life in a day. You can start to change your life though and that’s what you should do. If you have a list of 20 resolutions, pick the top two, break those down into smaller goals, get in the habit of doing the smaller, then increase them until you can do the larger goals.
Changing your life in a day doesn’t happen, but changing it in a year does. Start off small, get some good habits going, and within a year you’ll be further along on your resolutions than you ever imagined. This time you will succeed if you approach New Years Resolutions with a realism.