The failure of New Year’s resolutions
Not to worry — this year can actually be different
It’s the start of a new year, the time when people across the country are making promises to themselves in order to make this year the best one yet. It may be that you want to quit smoking, or finally get those killer abs you’ve been dreaming of or go on the raw, vegan and no-fat diet that is sure to fix everything.
But do you remember a time when you decided to change your style, dye your hair bright blue and get a tattoo sleeve before the year was over. How did that work out for you?
A lot of New Year’s resolutions are scrapped within mere weeks of January. One reason could be that your promises were made after too many glasses of bubbly in the wee hours of the new year. Or maybe it has something to do with that giddy ambitious “new beginning” feeling that makes us set impossible-to-reach goals for ourselves.
If our goals were achievable, wouldn’t we have started or completed them already? So why do we need the new year to be a reason to change who we are?
Many of the popular New Year’s resolutions are related to weight loss or just being healthier which can be a great thing if you’re able to stick to it. But even if you don’t, it’s always good for gyms trying to sell memberships.
At a local gym in Airdrie, administrator Stephanie Morris says, that they sell at least 50 more memberships in January than any other month.
Typically people are determined to complete their fitness resolutions when the thought of ‘a new start’ is there to motivate them. But after the sparkling new outlook on life that comes with the new year has worn off, the gyms clear out slowly and the weights are left untouched until the following January.
“Out of the New Year’s resolutioners that come to the gym in January, approximately only 5% of them stay the entire year and come consistently to the gym. It’s not a high percentage,” says Morris.
These New Year’s resolutions people have promised themselves big time commitments and unrealistic goals, which is something people don’t always like to think about. After going hard at the gym for a week without any results it can get a little discouraging. The doughnuts start to look more appealing every day.
So how do you make New Year’s resolutions and keep them? Balance and moderation is essential.
“I think that people should focus less on setting goals for New Year’s and focus more on setting realistic goals with realistic time frames,” says Morris.
Thinking about how demanding goals are to reach, and planning ahead to see how those demands fit into your daily life is very helpful. The goal you have set may not be impossible to reach if you focus on smaller accomplishments to keep encouraging you.
In other words, plan according to the process and not just based on the outcome.
“People quit so quickly from the gym because they expect immediate results when really the goal should be to have consistency, and focus more on how well you’re doing instead of how far you want to go,” says Morris.
Giving yourself enough time to reach goals, and not relying on the new year to motivate you should at least get you a little farther towards your goals.
As well, another aspect of manageable resolutions is those that are framed in a positive light as opposed to negativity. If you slip up once, and your goal is framed in negativity in terms of looking down on yourself for making a mistake, you won’t be willing to continue on because you’ll expect that you are going to disappoint yourself.
Reimagine your goals: instead of worrying about instant success, and getting upset or angry with yourself because you haven’t lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks, give yourself praise for the small victories, like the fact that you even got up that day to go for a run, or that you opted for salad instead of fries (when you really wanted fries).
Spontaneous New Year’s resolutions will most likely be forgotten about within a month or two. And the “Happy New Year, I’m cutting out bacon forever” will not stick.
This year, make a plan to reach realistic goals. Or else you will get to enjoy a fun few months of your friends being fed up and rolling their eyes whenever you see the chance to bring up your New Year’s resolution.