New Year's Resolutions: Are Yours Already Fading Away?
"Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account." - Oscar Wilde
Do you know that most people’s New Year’s resolutions fail before the month of January ends? In fact, there is a designated day in January that some people call as the Quitter’s Day!
In 2019, the fateful day was January 12.
This year, it’s January 19. That’s according to new research conducted by fitness platform, Strava. January 19, 2020 is the day this year when most people will give up on good intentions they set for themselves and fall back into old and mostly bad habits.
Do you think you’ll be one of the quitters on Quitter's Day? We hope not! If you’re still excited about enforcing the changes you’ve promised yourself to happen this year, keep at it! Make sure that the enthusiasm and commitment do not slowly but surely fade away as January 19th (and beyond) crosses over.
New Year’s Resolutions: What It Is About
New Year’s Resolutions is defined as a commitment made on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day to do or refrain from doing something over the course of the coming year. It is a promise to do something different in the new year. No matter what it is that you commit to, the goal is to make better! New Year’s Resolutions: Why Do They Fail. Let’s dig into why New Year’s Resolutions fail.
There is no shortage of articles online and offline detailing the many reasons why New Year’s Resolutions often fail but probably no one can argue with the fact that it’s mainly because we don’t make ‘resolution’ a lifestyle. By our own choice, we voluntarily live with bad habits most of the year and then on the very last day we grit our teeth and say, “This year will be different.”
Oh yeah? Really? There is NOTHING wrong with committing to do something different.
However, true change is not a spur of the moment kind of thing. It has to be a lifestyle. Something that you are willing to and can do every single day for as long as there is still enough physical and mental strength left in you.
You decide just before the start of the year that you are going to make changes; lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, be a kinder person, pay your debts, give more to charity, etc. and then that’s it! You stop right there and then. You don’t get up the following day or the next week or the succeeding month, and make intentional and concrete plans to change your life.
Isn’t it just wishful thinking when you talk about what you want to change without actually having a thoughtful brainstorming on how and when you can implement the change?
Old habits are hard to break. It may sound like a cliché but it's scientifically true! Change is for most of us ordinary mortals.
Researchers found out that everything that we think, feel and do is cast back in circuits of neurons in our brains. Neurons, or brain cells then signal each other at junctions called Synapse. At a synapse, one neuron releases a chemical substance called neurotransmitters and sends a message to a target neuron—another cell.
There are billions of neurons in the human brain; each neuron connects with up to 10,000 other neurons, passing signals to each other through as many as 1 trillion synapses. These interconnected neurons develop into circuits that dominate our habits. Over time, patterns form, both in behavior and in the brain and this can make it difficult to break a habit.
Therefore, scientifically, a change of habit is not a walk in the park. You have to repeatedly keep on doing that one specific act that you want to do in order to make it a habit and you have to repeatedly undo that one particular undertaking that you don’t want to get involved with anymore in order to break it.
The good news is it is doable. You can change but it takes so much more than lip service at the end or beginning of the year. You have to make a concrete and realistic plan and work out that plan every day. You also have to seriously commit to do things you actually DON’T want to do because change can appear scary and uncomfortable. It can be painful too. Now, once you actually start to make change happen, you have to maintain or improve that change for the rest of your life.
New Year’s Resolutions: How to Successfully Implement Them. Change requires you to let things (and people) go and that in itself can be a painful process. It can also make you feel like you’re a loser. It can feel like you failed at whatever it is that you are changing (e.g. change of career, ending a relationship, losing weight, etc.)
Change for most of us is going into un-chartered territory where uncertainty lies ahead. And all these can be scary. Most people don’t want to be in a scary or uncomfortable situation and when we’re put in that situation, we bail out to try and find our equilibrium again in our comfort zone.
It takes pushing through and you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable to truly create change.
Build your staying power in being uncomfortable. You can’t just resolve to crash diet and eat lettuce like a rabbit to lose 5 kilos in one month. That is tortuous and difficult if not impossible to achieve.
Don’t set yourself up by creating goals that are too high for your endurance, grit and fortitude. In short, don’t make impossible goals!
Don’t be tempted of instant gratification and overnight change. All change requires time and patience and need not be rushed. This is your life we are talking about. The rest of your life in fact.
Do yourself a favor by setting up New Year’s resolutions that fit into the rest of your life. Make it your lifestyle. Then take it.
Once you’ve made a determined decision, commit to doing it every single day! Resolve to live your best life every single moment. Strive to be the healthiest you can be every chance you get. Fight for the betterment of your relationship with others and with yourself without ceasing. Make it your lifestyle to fight for whatever it is that you want to be better at. Fight for YOU every day.