Why You’re Probably Not Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

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Why You’re Probably Not Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

Aaron O’Neil, Author

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New Year’s resolutions — the core idea is smart and well-intended, but it seems that more and more people have come to accept that it is extremely hard to follow through on them and that they don’t work. Some people who make New Year’s resolutions do complete them, though they are in the minority. So why can they do it when it seems like most of us can’t?

New Year’s resolutions are mostly rooted in how we think. The actual difference between one year and another is the Earth completing an orbit around the sun, but being humans, we make our own symbol out of it.

We think of a new year as another chapter of our lives, where we can make changes and take more chances. While we might be optimistic and think like this in late December and on into January, this mood can die off as soon as the second day of January. As Jonathan Fader writes in Psychology Today, the main problem isn’t that New Year’s resolutions themselves don’t work, but that we fail to stay motivated to complete them.

To stay motivated, what helps the most is planning and setting goals. Not one goal, but multiple. Breaking a big goal down into smaller ones helps you stay on track and keep track of your progress.

According to Susan Weinschenk, also writing in Psychology Today, having small goals such as “walk up the stairs every day” or “eat a fruit for breakfast” rather than big goals like “get more exercise” or “eat healthier” proves to be much more effective. Completing these smaller New Year’s goals can help you realize that you are capable of completing your goal.

The goals you plan should also start off easy, letting you slowly ease into your goal. Humans have an amazing ability to adapt and change, but it requires time. Steve Errey from Lifehack maintains that you have to give yourself time to learn and get used to your new habit.

It’s already February, and 2019 seems to be zipping by quickly. Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Are you still working on it? Have you given up? If you’re having trouble, try making it simpler and setting up multiple goals to reach. Keep the goal in mind. You got this.

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