It’s just over two weeks into January and twenty-five percent of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions.
We start January with great intentions. We resolve to lose weight, eat more healthily, exercise more, gain control over our finances or to generally have a more positive outlook. Some of us have no problem keeping their resolutions.
According to researcher John Norcross, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 50 percent of people will make a resolution every New Year.
But for many of us, shortly after the New Year, a week or two or even a month in, we begin to slide back into our old ways, eventually completely forgetting about our resolutions.
Why do so many people have problems succeeding in following through?
Researchers have studied this behaviour to try to find the reason. Is it simply because people are weak-willed? Or are they just lazy?
Resolutions are a way of motivating yourself to change a habit. But if you aren’t ready to actually change your habit, especially a bad habit, the failure rate will be high. Another reason can be that we set unrealistic expectations and goals when we make our resolution.
Psychology professor Peter Herman calls it “the ‘false hope syndrome’, which means the resolution is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with the person's internal view of themselves.” In other words, if you don’t really believe you can achieve your goal, then the positive affirmations won’t work.
Another aspect of failed resolutions comes from how you think it will change your entire life. You might think that losing weight or reducing your debts will change your life and when it doesn’t you become discouraged and go back to your old behaviours.
A resolution is basically a goal to change something. And in order to change you have to work at it and change your way of thinking about it.
In the next few blog posts, you'll find out why you fail at your resolutions, and discover some ways to get back on track. You’ll also discover ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into your daily lifestyle.
Let’s get started. Check out the next post 'Why we fail at following through with resolutions'.