How to Make New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them
Making New Year’s Resolutions can be hard and keeping New Year’s Resolutions can be harder.
Many of us start the New Year with resolutions.
Statistically, less than 10% are maintained. That means 90% are given up in a short space of time.
How can we ensure the survival of these resolutions, often made with the best intentions?
Reasons Why They Fail:
- Motivation insufficient.
- Motivation wrong, from outside rather than inside
- Resolution too large or not achievable.
- Resolution statement negative rather than positive.
- Too many resolutions in one go.
We will look at how to turn these around and make them functioning resolutions which give us that boost in January and really work.
First, let’s look at the background to resolutions since this may help us to succeed.
Where do Resolutions Come From?
The Babylonians promised to return borrowed items and pay off their debts at the beginning of the year. The Romans made pledges to Janus, the God of New Beginnings, to change something in their lives.
Janus is, of course, where we get the name for January from.
Why Do We Make Them?
Many people feel the need to make a resolution or two because everyone else is doing it. There can be a peer pressure to: ”Have a New Year’s Resolution.” This is not a good start.
If you feel strongly that you want to change something in your life and have clear goal in mind, you have a better chance of it succeeding.
How to Decide What WILL Work
Wanting to change something we are unhappy with is fine but we also need to know what we would be happy with.
Often unwanted habits are things we have heavily ingrained in our hearts and minds.
We believe we want to change but our minds actually reject too strong or too big a change.
What Are Our Minds Doing?
We want to make a change and our minds sabotage the change. This is usually because the change is too big, or maybe there are too many of them.
Your Comfort Zone
I would like to introduce you to your Comfort Zone.
We have our preference, our habits and our ways of doing things. These develop over the years and become a familiar part of our psychology. There is nothing wrong with that unless some part of our comfort zone makes us uncomfortable. Then we have a conflict.
To change something ingrained in us is like pushing a large stone uphill. The driving force is generally called: “Will Power.”
I hear people saying: “Oh No! I have no willpower!”
Can I Get a Stronger Will?
It was believed that will power was something we were born with or not. That means if you have little or none, you are doomed to never change and never achieve what you want.
This had been largely disproved by scientists. Will Power can be acquired. It needs to be a little at a time and consistent. It can be learned. With constant application and practice, your will can grow stronger.
How to Learn Strong Will and Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
Our minds play tricks on us and one of them is down to a simple filtering process that our conscious minds do all the time we are awake. Our conscious minds have so much to see, hear and feel that they filter off anything that is net necessary or anything repeated. The door is in the same place it always has been, why notice it again?
In fact our conscious minds filter off a lot and leave us with between 3 and 9 things to hold in memory. The average is 5 things.
Some of the things which get filtered off are words. Words which can seem irrelevant are; for example, negatives. If you say: “Don’t think of an elephant.” The brain hears “Elephant” first and then thinks of an elephant. This is the exact opposite. The brain has skipped over “Don’t ..”
To avoid this filtering, make resolutions positive. E.g. instead of: “I will stop smoking,” try “I will become a non-smoker.”
- Instead of; “I am going to lose weight.” Try “I will become slimmer and healthier.”
- Instead of; “I will stop swearing,” try; “I will use sensible language when I speak and find the correct word to use.”
- Instead of “I won’t get up late,” try; “I will get up early each day.”
Make the resolution something you can achieve and in a shorter period of time. Break big ambitions down into shorter steps and the first step should be the first resolution. You can always set more later on.
- Only resolve to do something YOU really want to do. Ignore pressures from other people.
- Keep the number of resolutions down to less than 5, preferably just 1.
- Plan the action you will take, when you will do it and how you can see that you have achieved it. Break it down into small steps.
- Ensure the resolution is positive.
- The strengthened willpower comes from repetition. You move a little out of your comfort zone. Repeat until it feels comfortable. You have established a new comfort zone.
- Be sure it is something you really want, then, when things go slightly wrong, you will feel more motivated to continue with it and keep the resolution going.
- Can you do it? You must believe it is physically and intellectually possible. Be realistic, especially if it is to achieve something physical. Remember fitness is incremental and takes time for us all.
- Once you have settled all the above: share your goals with other people and see if there is anyone who has similar ones. You can maybe do the resolution together or share the experience. If other people know your aims it helps to motivate you to complete them.
- Reward yourself from time to time as you see small successes.
Resolutions do not have to be only for the New Year. If you need or want to change, start now.
Good luck with your resolve and let me know how you did.
Read More: How to Keep Calm at Christmas