By: Shelly-Anne Johnson, LCSW
Each year as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st we decide once and for all that we are going to exercise more, eat better, stop drinking, visit family, go back to school, be a better friend, spouse, boss, employee, etc. We make these promises to ourselves and the ones we love, only to revert to our old way in a month or two. Then the cycle continues. Why is it that we cannot seem to stick to the resolutions we are so resolute about on December 31st? According to economictimes.com, only 16% of people actually follow through with their resolutions. Here are a few of the reasons why people say they give up on their resolutions and how you combat them:
- Overconfidence – We set unrealistic goals and give up when things start getting too hard.
Solution: Take a moment to really look at what you can do based on time and resources.
- Lack of time – You work 60+ hours a week and don’t have enough time to fit in self-care.
Solution: Develop systems and habits that align with the time you do have. Park as far as you safely can from the entrance to your job, take the stairs, stay active throughout your day, take frequent mental health breaks.
- Lack of resources – This could be lack of finances, transportations, etc.
Solution: Develop a solutions mindset – instead of focusing on what you don’t have, utilize the things you do have. Can’t afford a gym membership? Work out at home, take the dog for a walk, etc.
- External motivation – You jumped on a fad band wagon, but this is not something you really wanted to do, or you are doing it for someone else. Once the excitement of the new year passes and you are seeing how much it will take to follow through with the resolution you give up.
Solution: The motivation must come from within, be honest about why you want to make the change before you start.
- Too vague – Your plan was not fleshed out.
Solutions: Instead of a goal of “Getting health” try “I will walk my dogs 4 days a week and have salad for lunch 3 out of my 5 workdays.”
Change is not always easy. However, with a solid game plan and realistic goals, it is possible to follow through. Enjoy the process and let this year be the year you don’t give up on you.
Read more about how to stick to your resolutions here.