I know, you think, this year will be different.
This year, I’m going to eat right, get in shape, and start working on that project I’ve been talking about!
Day one, you think, easy.
I did all three things! This year is going to be great!
Day three, you think, this isn’t so hard.
I can definitely keep this up!
Day ten, you think, okay, this is a little draining.
It’s fine! I just need a little break!
Day fifteen, you think, it won’t be so hard to get going again.
Oh, man. I have that other thing to do. I’ll start again next week!
Day twenty-five, you think, okay doing it today wasn’t as easy this time.
I’ll just take another break. I have been very busy lately.
Day thirty, you think, I didn’t expect these goals to be so much work.
Oh, well. I’ll just try again next year.
New Years Resolutions – The Good
There are a few reasons why New Years resolutions can be so powerful for everyday people like you and me.
The first and most obvious reason is the fact that January 1st comes with a clean slate.
If the previous year was full of trials and tribulations, a New Year brings a chance to start over on a better note and do everything you wish you had accomplished last year.
The second reason is the fact that everyone else is also making changes.
Maybe fitness is your goal. If that’s the case, come the beginning of January, you will have lots of friends who would likely be willing to brave the gym for the first time with you.
If you don’t currently have someone to go with, it is a great opportunity to meet new people. There is guaranteed to be tons of people in your shoes visiting the gym.
Maybe you are looking at more serious goals.
Perhaps you realize that you need to take your sobriety more seriously for your own mental health, and perhaps even that of your family.
I am sure that there are plenty of people who would be willing to cut back with you, allowing you to embrace the support of community.
Last but not least, this is often the only time people stop to reflect on how they want to better themselves.
As we can see, there are some obvious reasons why everyone would want to make resolutions, so the question is: why do so many people fall flat year after year when it comes to meeting goals?
Why Resolutions Don’t Work
The first and most obvious reason why new years resolutions fail to make changes in peoples’ lives is the fact that people (myself included), lack willpower.
If I had accomplished everything I set my mind to, I would be a millionaire by 25 with the physique of a bodybuilder.
Unfortunately, I have neither of those. What I do have, however, is hindsight…
Hindsight from last year, and the year before, and the one before that.
I can choose to pass up on that hindsight, or I can make something great of myself this year…and so can you!
Take yourself back to the person you were last year when you were making new years resolutions, and try to remember those moments vividly.
I am willing to guess it practically feels like yesterday.
We are so quick to throw in the towel, and I partly believe this is due to the fact that we underestimate what we can accomplish in a small period of time, as well as just how fast time really passes us by.
The second reason why new years resolutions fail is also simple.
You place all this hype on January, leaving yourself free to absolutely set yourself back in December.
By the time January rolls around you are already so far behind, you are discouraged before you get ahead of where you were in November!
A few months ago I wrote an article on how coffee can affect anxiety. Since then I have done my absolute best to avoid coffee.
I have to be honest, I slipped up in December. One led to another, and soon I was having one every other day.
It didn’t bother me at first, and I kept telling myself I would stop in January, so I would let them slide more often than not.
Now it is harder than ever to cut back as it has now become a part of my daily habit. My anxiety is definitely up, and now I am mentally kicking myself in the ass for ever starting again.
I plan to quit in January, cold turkey, but I know I will experience rebound anxiety and fatigue due to my adrenal fatigue. This will make it extremely difficult to stop.
Why? All because I overhyped January and screwed myself over in December.
Don’t use tomorrow as an excuse to give up on your goal today.
People who have fitness resolutions will set themselves back by indulging during the holiday season.
Those of you with substance or alcohol problems will use the holidays as an excuse to embrace your chosen poisons.
It all starts somewhere, and all of a sudden you are facing a mountain to reach your goals starting January first.
The final reason new years resolutions don’t work is the fact that you set yourself up to fall.
With all expectations set on creating the perfect year, a single mistake brings discouragement.
If you are discouraged, you lose motivation. When you lose motivation, you lose desire. When you lose the desire to make change, you are back at square one.
This is why one mistake often leads to another, and then another, etc. Soon enough, by February your resolutions are for next year.
All of a sudden March to December is nothing but wasted time again.
How Can We Make New Years Resolutions Effective?
Honestly, it is right under your nose.
To make new years resolutions effective, you throw the idea that there is only one time of the year to change out the window.
Scrap the idea of new years resolutions, and make self improvement your lifestyle.
Put one foot forward everyday to achieve what you want, and within a year you will have created a masterpiece with your life.
Whether your goals are better mental health, better quality relationships, more friends, washboard abs etc, set goals every day of every month.
Invest a minimum of 1 hour everyday to something that will change your life.
If you don’t have an hour extra a day, then you need to eliminate anything that is wasting your time. This includes the television, toxic friends, video games, etc.
The Power Of Necessity
I have a question for you…
If you wanted to quit smoking, would it be easier to do so on the average Wednesday just because you feel like it, or would it be easier if pain in your chest brought you to the doctor only to find out that you had a heart problem?
While some people have incredible will power and can dominate their minds cravings, it is much more likely you would have an easier time quitting if you knew your health depended on it.
Do you suppose it would be easier for a drug user to quit their habit on any given Thursday, or if they found out they were pregnant?
In this case, the latter is obviously much more likely.
How about fitness goals? Would you randomly start a fitness program in the middle of the week?
You would probably wait till the next Monday so you could enjoy one more weekend in style before beginning your training and dieting.
In reality the program will likely fade because aside from a goal in the mind, it likely isn’t a necessity.
Now imagine you were going to get married to the partner of your dreams on a beach in Hawaii in 3 months.
All of your family and friends would be there and, of course, the ceremony is followed by a photo shoot.
How motivated would you be to lose 20lbs in this scenario vs. that random October morning where all you are doing in 3 months is eating holiday treats?
Having a clear cut reason to why you are changing your habits is key.
A few months ago, I made this blog a necessity in my life. If I hadn’t, I would not still be working on it.
There are plenty of days where I don’t feel motivated, but in my mind, there is no room to skip the work.
I show up everyday, and I do a minimum of one thing that gets me ahead. Whether that is writing an article, doing some reading, or doing some design, I show up everyday like clockwork.
If you are reading this in January, March, August, etc it does not matter.
Set a goal today, and drill it into your mind that it is a necessity. There is no room for slip ups, and no room for changing your mind.
Imagine a hot iron searing this into your brain (literally), it is now a part of your destiny, which you could not change even if you so desired.
The Power Of Habits
When January 1st rolls around, we are all brimming with motivation, confident this will be our year.
Reality strikes quickly for most and motivation fades quicker than the sun in November.
For real success, we need to replace motivation with habits.
Habits have the ability to change lives, while motivation only temporarily fuels pipe dreams.
Rain or shine, your habits support your goals. Unfortunately, not all habits are fun and games, which is why most people fall short of goals.
My primary new years resolution I am making this year is to complete 30 Days of Discipline again.
It is a 30 day habit forming program that instills the discipline to change your life. I completed it last June, and it changed my life.
I now plan on doing it every January to get my year off to a perfect start.
Everyone can complete one month of resolutions, but most people struggle to keep going after.
I guarantee if you make it through 30 Days of Discipline with me this year, YOU WILL smash your goals.
Happy New Year!
I wish you a lot of luck, but mostly I wish you a lot of hard work.
See you on the other side.