The psychology of New Years resolutions
Most new years resolutions fail.
Research has shown that although resolutions made at the start of a new year are ten times more likely to be followed through, most of them still fail.
But why? And how do we avoid this?
Slow it down
I believe a large part of it is due to humans, in our usual overzealous way, biting off more than we can chew. It is a common thought amongst those who make new years resolutions that the change needs to be major, whatever it may be.
You are more likely to follow through with your resolutions if they are smaller, more achievable goals that you don’t dread the thought of doing each day. Instead of running an hour each day, try ten minutes and build it up slowly over the year.
Another part of the problem is the lack of detail and specifics. If you are too vague with your goals then how will you keep yourself accountable and how will you track your progress? You are much more likely to slip back into your old habits this way. And I will talk more about ‘old habits’ later.
A common statistic that is very promising for everyone creating new years resolutions is that you are 40% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. So go on, get our your pen and paper and getting writing!
Before anything – reflect
Now about old habits – and I believe this to be the final part of the problem – are your old habits indeed bad habits? Or are they just old? It is admirable to want to better yourself but sometimes we worsen ourselves in the process. As the process is often filled with anxiety and fear of not reaching what you set out to do. This goes back to the point about setting smaller, more manageable goals.
But before any of that and before you put pen to paper to increase your chances of success by 40%, stop and think about yourself, your life, your happiness and everything that is important to you. Do you really need to achieve all these extra things or is it possible that you are actually content with what you have but just haven’t taken the time to realise it?
Happy new year and good luck with the resolutions.