The year is rapidly coming to an end, and in the midst of the frantic holiday season, you might be feeling pressure to come up with some New Year’s resolutions before January 1st rolls around.
In America, with our strong sense of individualism and our value of self-reliance, it’s no wonder that we’re enchanted with the idea of New Years resolutions. They symbolize a fresh chance to reinvent ourselves, to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.”
However, the whole New Year’s resolutions trend may be setting us up for failure to make an impactful change in our life. In fact, there are several reasons why it’s so darn hard to keep those New Year’s resolutions past January!
It’s a temptation to make New Year’s resolutions into huge, sweeping goals. You may think of things like “don’t eat sugar,” “stop smoking,” or “read more.” But such big, generalized goals are very difficult to maintain, especially since they tend to be huge shifts from normal, established habits. If you’re not emotionally, physically, or mentally prepared to make such a huge life change, the odds are stacked against your resolutions, which is one of the reasons
why about 90% of all resolutions fail or are abandoned by mid-February.
People are often discouraged around the end of January, because following their resolutions doesn’t seem to be transforming their whole life like they expected. This discouragement causes people to revert to their old habits once January is over. While it’s an important to “eat healthier,” “pay off debts,” or “exercise more,” changing those things won’t automatically change your whole life. Changing your entire life is something that takes a lot of time, perseverance, and outside help – not something you can accomplish within the first couple weeks of the New Year!
No Realistic “Game Plan”
If you’re trying to change a habit for your New Year’s resolution by just forcing yourself to “do it,” you’re fighting an uphill battle. New studies have found that, if you try to force yourself to change a habit, you may actually just be making that habit stronger!
Making a positive lifestyle change is a long process that involves slowly shifting your perspectives and exchanging bad habits for good ones.
Trying to Achieve Your Resolutions Alone
Because of that self-sufficient streak we talked about earlier, we Americans sometimes think that we have to achieve our goals by ourselves. Yet, the resolutions we tend to choose for New Year are some of the most difficult to accomplish by ourselves! We should be turning to loved ones more than usual to help us reach our goals!
So, this New Year, try going without those worrisome New Year’s resolutions! It’s better to set small, short-term goals throughout the year that help you cultivate a positive self-image and strengthen your natural good qualities and skills, instead of trying to force yourself to expel a negative habit all on your own within a year!
If you want a professional’s advice on resolutions and life goals, a psychotherapy session with a trained counselor may help you find the best way work towards the lifestyle you want!