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New Years Resolutions and Why They Don't Work

Billions of people around the world and almost all of them make New Year's resolutions but… why are they so difficult to keep?

The tradition of setting a goal for the new years has existed for 4000 years since ancient Babylon and yet humans still cannot keep their resolutions. There are a bunch of different specific things that cause this kind of behavior but there are five main reasons for this.

The first reason why you can't keep to your resolution is simply that it is too vague and lacks a timeline that outlines what specifically you have to have achieved by a certain time.

By making your resolutions more specific you can break the resolution down into smaller more achievable goals. For example, a popular resolution that many people make is to “eat healthier and lose weight”. This common resolution is very broad but it could be broken down by instead figuring out a diet to follow and keeping a log of what you eat every day and how much you eat every day. This is a bit unrealistic however because being on a diet and following it every single day for a year is very difficult so instead set an easier goal for yourself.

This is the second reason why people are so prone to breaking their resolutions, the goal is way too large to tackle all at once. A perfect example is exercising, instead of immediately saying “I’m going to do 100 push-ups a day” build up to it; start with 10 a day, then 20, then 35, and so on until you reach your goal.

Thirdly, a more scientifically proven problem stems from how these resolutions are framed. Too often people include negative words like “stop” in their resolutions and this psychologically affects your willpower. Mentioning something that one should not do makes you think about it more and makes you fall back into old habits.

An example of this kind of resolution would be “I’m going to stop staying up so late.”

Another thing that people often don’t consider is that New Year's resolutions shouldn't be made up on the spot, they should instead be inspired by something specific to you that you want to change. Rather than simply saying things like ”I'm going to work out more” or “I'm going to eat less junk food” instead opt to change something that is very personal to you specifically.

The fifth and final reason is actually the fault of the ceremony. Many people think that because the new year has come and the calendar has rolled back over to January their lives will magically change. Rather than expecting the universe to hand you a favor, instead, get prepared to follow your resolution and give it a few days or weeks. Once you are committed to the idea and have created a plan then the resolution will practically follow through by itself.

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