Why New Year Resolutions fail?
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Suggested text: Happy New Year Folks! 2022 has arrived and with it has come a fresh ray of hope, joy and new beginnings!.
Though at the back of our minds we know that a new year is just the normal passage of time, but it still offers us a fresh start, a clean slate and motivation to live life more fully.
Suggested text: You may have set some new year resolutions or goals for yourself this year in different areas of your lives. Some of us wish you have a better physique or eat healthy, work on reducing stress, achieving career milestones, going on adventures or improving our relationships with our loved ones.
However, many of us find it hard to keep sticking to those new year resolutions or goals. Most new year resolutions fail by February and we feel disheartened or beat ourselves up for not accomplishing the goal. We end up feeling ‘stuck’ or stagnant from time to time.
We also see it as a failing on our part when we can’t stick to the action for the goal. But fear not! As we are hear to help you understand why you remain stuck and why change becomes this overwhelming and difficult thing to master. In this article we are looking at some of the common psychological reasons which keep us stuck, keep us from achieving our goals and bringing about the desired change. Let’s look at these factors:
1. Your goal is not well defined. Your goal may be too abstract or vague and not specific enough. This will keep you from having a definite target that is tangible and can be worked upon and evaluated. For example, I want to have better mental health is too vague a goal. You can break it down to tangible goals such as journaling, going for counselling, meditation, and so on. The more well defined your goal and the markers for accomplishing that goal are, the better you will get at achieving them. Start by writing down the broad goal or change and then the smaller goals or steps for this change. Follow this with the actions you will take daily or weekly for the steps. Also note the results or markers you expect to see to know if you’re on the right track.
2. You don’t know the ‘HOW’
Sometimes we know what we want but we don’t know exactly how to get there. The action required to bring about the change may not be known, understood properly. We may believe that we know how to, but we may be a bit deluded. It is good to remind yourself that it is okay if you don’t know and it is fine to seek help from others. Discuss your goals or resolutions with friends, family members, counsellors or anyone who has been through the same journey for the goals. Do your research before you set out on the path so that the steps to archive the goal can be simplified and applicable to your day to day life.
Suggested text: You are not mindful of your starting point.
Many of us get so caught up in focusing on the goal that we may not look at where we are starting from. Our mental or physical capacity, resilience or motivation may not match the goal that could be at a unrealistically high standard. Imagine if you have to start a small garden behind your house. Instead of directly jumping to planning what plants we will have in there, we have to look at the soil quality, the availability of manure, access to sun weather conditions and our own ability to give time and energy to it. In the same lines, we have to mindful or where we are starting from. Instead of reaching for a high step we can start with small steps that can be incorporated into our current lifestyle.
You haven’t identified or accounted for the resistance to change
Suggested text: There is a quote which goes, “Change is never the problem. It is only resistance to change that is the problem.” Resistance could be the current behavioral, emotional or thought patterns which are keeping you stuck and are an obstacle to the change. For example, if your goal is to make more time for family, but the resistance comes from having too much going on in your work life, or emotional triggers of the family that make you avoid them. Here you would first have to address these factors and overcome them in order to achieve your goal of making time for your loved ones. In this way you can identify your resisting factors towards the goal. Instead of jumping through hoops we can begin by making our path earlier.
You are stressed or disturbed
Suggested text: You are stressed or disturbed .
This is a big one. If you are going through something, consciously or unconsciously if there is psychological disturbance, it becomes harder to have energy to accomplish even simple goals or tasks. Anxiety, depressed or low mood, poor self esteem, emotional unmanageability or suppression, negative thinking, and many more psychological issues can keep us from taking small steps towards our resolutions. These can also be categorized as resistance to change, direct or indirect. It is helpful to begin working on this disturbance through introspection, educating oneself on psychological issues, going for therapy and sharing with others. Stress and psychological distress has a profound effect on one’s mind and body and the sooner we start we work on it the better.