Ok, I admit it: this sounds like a negative post. Trust me, it isn’t. The reason I wanted to explore why New Years Resolutions never work, is so that we can look at a way to really make them work this year. My previous resolutions have ranged from the normal to the utterly mad (in case you were wondering I still haven’t learned Japanese). This year, I’ve decided to set myself the broad and very realistic goal of ‘being more healthy’. This means I’m not on a diet as such, and I’m not completely giving up drinking. Far more attainable than giving up everything completely.
So why do New Years Resolutions fail more spectacularly than Katie Price’s pop career? After speaking to others, here are my conclusions.
We set incredibly unattainable goals
Because we are forced by the idea of the New Year’s Resolution, we decide to set ourselves absolutely crazy goals which we would never be able to achieve anytime of year. New Year isn’t magic. You are not going to lose a stone, become teetotal or become fluent in Mandarin in a week just because it’s January. A New Year is a great marker for a new start.
We focus on what we shouldn’t do rather than what we should.
It all sounds very negative doesn’t it? DON’T drink. DON’T smoke. DON’T eat an entire packet of digestives in one sitting. I don’t know about all of you, but if i tell myself or someone tells me not to do something, I kind of want to do it more. I am that person that always wants to push the button that says ‘do not push’. Therefore, I find it much easier to tell myself things I am going to do rather than what I am not.
I AM going to take more trips.
I AM going to get healthy.
I AM going to buy ALL the makeup.
January is a bit rubbish anyway
Even if you are the biggest Grinch ever, Christmas is still exciting, if not for the time off work alone. There’s just something great about how happy everyone is, and how friendly they are. Not to mention the total excuse to eat a drink as much as you want because ‘it’s Christmas’ and let’s face it, we all love presents. So when it finishes, it’s all a bit ‘blah’. Couple this with the fact we have decided this January to deprive ourselves of anything remotely fun, and it doesn’t make for a good start to the year.
We don’t actually tailor resolutions to ourselves
In three guesses I bet I can get one of your resolutions.
Eat better, go to the gym and lose weight. Stop smoking. Stop drinking. These are all pretty standard really. I once tried to give up sarcasm for lent, but I only lasted 36 minutes. The thing about resolutions is, they are all a bit generic. Do you really need to give up drinking? Is it affecting your health? Are you already eating pretty well? Why not think outside of the box. I’ve always wanted to move to the Philippines, so this year I’m going to learn Filipino. This is something that is actually personal to me, and will be achievable because it will benefit me ion the long run.
We compare ourselves too much to others
So Debbie in HR has been doing some mental fad diet where you bark three times and howl at the moon, eat a bit of celery wrapped in kale and dipped in hummus and plank for four hours and she’s lost 8 stone in 3 days. Some people just do things faster than others, and I think a lot of us get midway through January, see other people having successes and think ‘sod it’ and give up. A New Year’s resolution should be something you do for you and you only. So what if some people are a bit quicker, it shouldn’t matter what pace others are going. This is what I tell myself when everyone at work gets their Birchbox before me.