By: Natasha Archary
How many New Year’s resolutions have you made in your life?
An endless list every year that you abandon within a few days?
How many of those resolutions have you actually successfully accomplished?
The estimate is that less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions made are actually achieved.
Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, advises against making new year’s resolutions.
According to the author, resolutions only sets you up for disappointment. Causing people to lose motivation and feel unaccomplished.
Instead you should look at it as a plan to prioritise your goals.
Long term goals that you task yourself at the beginning of the year, often end up losing steam.
If the end goal is to run a 20km marathon, set an immediate plan that you can start right away.
Start with small goals like running 15 minutes a day, which you can then work on improving.
Give yourself a clear short term goal to achieve.
Take advantage of the clean slate
For most people, the thought of having a clean slate on which to work is often the dominant factor in making resolutions.
A vow to change a drastic habit for the better.
However, human beings are creatures of habit and the act of breaking this habitual cycle and bring about change is not an easy feat. One we can pin directly on science.
According to researcher John Norcross, approximately 50% of the global population makes resolutions each year.
The findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychology list weight loss, exercise, travel, quitting alcohol or cigarettes as some of the top resolutions made.
People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves but it won’t work if you aren’t ready to make these changes and this is what accounts for the high failure rate.
The underlying issue is in setting unrealistic goals and expectations. Something that is referred to as “false hope syndrome.”
In other words, your resolution is out of alignment with your internal view of yourself. Think about every positive affirmation you’ve ever made. Chances are this lasted for a few days, after which self doubt kicked in and you lost interest.
Tricking your mind into believing it can be achieved is the key, while subduing your emotional insecurities.
The saying “mind over matter” comes into play here. Habitual behaviour is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behaviour. Changing this requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking.