Why Is It So Hard to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?
About half of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions for 2014. You may be one of them, and even if you aren’t planning to make resolutions this year, you’re probably familiar with the routine: You get inspired by the fresh start of a new year and set lofty goals of all the ways that you’re going to change your life. This is the year that you’ll finally drop those extra 20 pounds, run a marathon, and get your budget in order. And most people start out strong, shunning chocolate cake and hitting the gym. However, within a few weeks, motivation often starts to wane and sticking to those resolutions becomes more difficult.
So why is it so hard to keep your New Year’s resolutions? First of all, we often try to make sudden, big changes to our lives. While the symbolism of the new year as a fresh start is a great idea, the reality is that very little is likely to change about your routines between December of one year and January of the next. Humans are creatures of habit, and when we are used to doing something the same way all the time, it’s difficult to suddenly shift and do something completely different.
Therefore, if you currently avoid exercise like the plague, it’s incredibly difficult to immediately throw yourself into a routine of hitting the gym five days a week, and even harder to stick with it. Think of it this way: you probably don’t have to put much thought into daily habits like taking a shower or brushing your teeth, right? Well, the same goes for less-virtuous habits. If you always visit the vending machine at work in the afternoon for a candy bar, that becomes second-nature and it’s hard to break the status quo.
We tend to expect behavior change to be instantaneous but it really takes time to change habits. When we aren’t able to stick to our resolutions perfectly right away, we often get frustrated or discouraged and decide to just throw in the towel. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Check out these tips on how to set better New Year’s resolutions and avoid the roadblocks that you’ll face on the way to achieving your goals.