So it’s that time of year where we are setting up new ideals in an attempt to better our lives in some way. New Year’s resolutions are great for promoting growth and motivating yourself. The ugly truth is that these goals are hardly ever realized, but who can blame us? New Year’s resolutions, in my opinion, set us up for failure before we even start.
1. We aim too high
We often set our sights high with visions of radical changes. With stars in our eyes we envision being healthy, wealthy or loved by many, all in one go. These are the goals, yes, but how about setting out some more realistic goals to help us toward those ideals. Being healthier, wealthier or more loved sounds pretty good to me too and more importantly, more achievable.
2. The time line is all wrong
So how often have we said we are quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, starting a diet or saving money as a new year’s resolution? Every year right? Now the reason why we don’t stick to these for long is because we rely on our willpower to stop the cravings and deal with the everyday pressures. Let’s face it sheer willpower isn’t the strongest of “powers” in the human arsenal. We have those habits, cravings and emotions that are way more overwhelming and hard to cope with.
Besides, I can think of no greater punishment than to be cut off from the fried foods and snacks at the new year’s buffet table from 24h00 sharp. What are we punishing ourselves for? This is the perfect example of dooming yourself before you even start.
My suggestions on fixing the New Year fallacies are to set achievable goals and get the time line to resemble something that’s more manageable than a deadline. Here’s how you do it.
Instead of placing your sights on radical change, focus your efforts on targeting specific behaviours instead. So as an example, instead of aiming to quit smoking all together, make a resolution to no longer smoke whilst driving. Similarly, with eating junk food, promise yourself to stop eating take-out for 5 days a week and have 2 days where you can still deal with the cravings. You can set your sites on what feels doable for you.
So all that’s left to do is to fix this dead line (or doomsday) feel to the New Year resolution practices. After all, we don’t want to be stuck at the buffet table shoving copious amount of food into our mouth because the clock reads 23h55 and you haven’t tried that one dip to left of the chips on the table.
To remedy this, practice new year’s resolutions in advance. This way you get a running start and by New Year’s you would have the reins on whatever it is in your life that you wish to tame. For example, instead of spending the first weeks of the new year in pain and highly strung because you’ve started to go to gym diligently every week and you’ve cut down on smoking. Rather start frequenting the gym and changing your behaviour patterns a month or two in advance so that you’re no longer in the training wheels stage, come the New Year.
This way you would have the mood swings, aches, pains and cravings when you started changing your behaviour and can enter the New Year with a foundation to work with.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? and how do you make sure you stick to them?
Please leave your comments, thoughts, tips and opinions. I like hearing from you.