Why your new years resolution will fail
I don’t want to sound too negative, but let me tell you why your new years resolution will fail. Simply because you don’t really want to change! Let me explain.
Simply put, if you really wanted to make a change, you would have started by now. The only reason to wait until Jan 1st is because you have doubts, hesitations, or are only doing it because you feel you must. Definitely not because you want to.
And change is hard. Trust me. If you want to make a positive change you must really, really want it. Otherwise old habits will win. I recently decided it was time to loose weight and was able to drop 30 lbs, not due to any resolution, and not on my first try either. I did it because I crossed the line into “Obesity” and finally decided enough is enough. When I wanted it enough the change came soon enough.
So if you really do want to make a change, but don’t yet have that gut wrenching feeling that it must happen, perhaps the question is not what your resolution should be, but what can you do to get motivated?
There are many good tips on how to set goals, including an concise summary from Mike King over at learnthis.ca. Unfortunately, getting motivated is a more personal endeavor, so all I can do is make some vague suggestions:
- Research the consequences of in-action.
- Research the benefits of change.
- Find role models that exhibit the behavior you desire.
- Include others – ask for support / encouragement. Make public commitments.
- Write down your goal, and then track it. Ideally publicly.
- Identify many small / easy changes to help keep motivation up.
- Celebrate successes.
- Ignore temporary setbacks.
For example, when I decided it was time to loose weight it was because I crossed the threshold into “obesity” (if you believe in BMI). This was enough for me to finally realize the many health risks I already knew definitely applied to me. Then I talked with my wife, and set a personal goal. I wrote this down and then began tracking my weight and body fat. Finally I broke down my goal into many small changes such as “No eating cheese except on pizza”, “No butter”, “Only meat once per day”, “Desserts/snacks rarely, and then only 1 serving at a time”. By being realistic (such as allowing cheese on pizza – my personal favorite meal) my changes were easier to stick with. There were many failures along the way, but I took each one as an opportunity to refocus.
In the end I realize there is no end. Old habits never really die, and keeping motivated is an ongoing challenge. So figure out what works for you, make a plan, adjust as necessary, and change for the better. But not till your ready.