It happens every year on New Year’s Eve – the wildest plans for the next twelve months pop up. Of course, everything is supposed to get better. The most popular resolutions always have to do with the own health: finally more exercise, giving up smoking, taking up jogging, starting a die, eating more fruits and veggies and less sugary sweets, and so on. Others plan to find a new hobby, spend more time with their families or go more often to the museum, theatre or concerts. The balance at the end of the year is usually somber, though – most resolutions stayed unfulfilled again. Maybe you‘re part of the strong willed ones who kept their plans. In this case, sincere congrats! For all the others, we’ll take a look at the reasons for failing and give you some advice for pulling through.
What is the reason behind always choosing virtually the same resolutions year in and year out, but failing to fulfil and forgetting about them and starting over the next year? Psychologists provide an explanation. If we have concrete plans for the forseeable future and those are, furthermore, things that might actually improve our lives, we’ll automatically feel very much in control of our lives. This feeling of control is benefic to us and also gives us a sense of safety and motivation, increasing our self-esteem. On the other hand, our brain is very bad at accepting change and inevitably brings up old behavioural patterns. That’s why our resolutions usually get stuck in the planning stage.
To avoid all that, we’ve gathered some good advice for you:
1. Don’t take on too many things at once. One important piece of advice, especially if you are working on ten resolutions at once. This will only get you tired and frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. Take things on a step-by-step basis and work on your goals one at a time.
2. Write down your resolutions and keep the list close by. Studies have shown that writing things down makes us take them into close consideration. Written words are more important than spoken ones, apparently. Make a list with all your resolutions and keep it always somewhere close. It will remind you of your goals.
3. Get support. Exercising will seem a whole lot easier if you spend the time with your best buddies. They help you stay motivated and achieve your goals. Whatever your new endeavour may be, let some good friends share in the fun.
4. Make plans for „hickups“. Everybody has moments of weakness, especially when it’s about new habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you still smoke that one cigarette or eat one more bar of chocolate. Otherwise you’ll soon think that you can’t accomplish anything. That’s one step closer to giving up.