Did you usher in the new year by going to the gym, eating a healthy meal, starting a new book, or telling a loved one you appreciate their company? One week into the new year, are you still doing these things, and how confident are you that you can keep up these good habits?
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions that we give up on all too easily. According to The Wall Street Journal, a recent survey shows more than 40 percent of those polled failed to keep up with their New Year’s resolutions in 2014.
Another study of New Year’s resolutions shows a steep drop off in how long they’re kept up. Seventy-seven percent of the resolvers studied made it through a full week, whereas 55 percent stuck with their goals for a month. By June, only 40 percent of those who had made a New Year’s resolution were still sticking with the goal.
Why is it so hard to stick with a good habit? Alexcis Spencer Lopez, a life coach and therapist based in Arizona, US, says we are going about our New Year’s resolutions all wrong. Writing on news website Quartz, she says we are always trying to change the symptoms — whether it is losing weight or quitting smoking – instead of addressing the heart of the problem. Lopez says we need to resolve to make better resolutions.
Look inside yourself
We all want to overcome unhealthy habits. According to Lopez, unhealthy habits are what we do to distract from uncomfortable emotions that we don’t know how to deal with.
Resolving to stop the distracting behavior without first finding out what’s motivating it is dooming yourself to failure, she says. Lopez says you should resolve to reconnect with your emotional self to find out what’s driving you so that you can make a conscious decision to change your behavior.
Sounds like there will be a lot of soul-searching involved. Oh well, if you don’t want to make things too complicated, simply set an attainable goal for yourself. Typically, people fail to stick to their goals because their resolutions are too demanding or unrealistic, like committing to losing 20 kilos or quitting playing video games.
According to explanatory journalism website Vox.com, experts who study goal-setting all agree that the more manageable goals are the ones people actually succeed at attaining.
Another benefit of setting attainable goals is you can always up the ante. The person who commits to losing2 kilos and succeeds can set another target to lose a bit more weight. But the person who loses 2 kilos while committed to shedding 20 kilos is still far away from declaring a victory.