New Year’s resolutions are a good thing, right? Mark Laws thinks not…
New Year’s resolutions help us make positive changes.
45% of all resolutions are broken within one month.
As you read this you may well have half a mind on your New Year’s resolutions for 2017. Most of us use this as an opportunity to right our wrongs from the previous year, to learn from our mistakes or to attempt to achieve something that we have been meaning to do for ages.
The sentiment is a positive one, which should be applauded. But why do we need to wait for January 1 to turn over a new leaf? Why should our diary dictate when we will do something that is supposedly ‘important’ to us?
Why do resolutions always start at the beginning of a new year? Why do gym memberships increase at the start of a new month? Why do diets always start on Mondays? In reality, most resolutions get broken within a few weeks anyway, most gym memberships are left to gather dust within a number of days and I have known many, many diets that have been broken literally within minutes… so why do we broke these resolutions so soon, especially as we have usually planned them for so long?
Here is the reason: we have really good intentions, but we can be very weak… and we find it far too easy to find excuses.
It is so easy to find an excuse NOT to do something – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, I don’t like training inside, I don’t like training outside, I don’t have time, I don’t have money, I don’t have a car etc etc etc – I have heard them all before and if I am honest I have used a lot of them myself too. I know how easy it is to have a continuous cycle of good intentions followed by crappy excuses.
The bad news is – nothing will EVER change. Ten years can go by in the blink of an eye and we won’t have achieved anything we said we would. Remember, if you do what you have always done, then you will have what you have always had.
5 things you can to do ensure you don’t fail…
1 – Take action!
If you know that you need to do some training, or you know you need to stretch more, or there is something you should/shouldn’t eat… then sort it out. Now. The minute you wait until a point in your diary comes around then you have completely devalued the importance of that activity – hence the reason most resolutions are broken within a short timeframe.
2 – Hold yourself accountable!
our ego can be our worst enemy at times, but it is possible to use it for good. Social media is great for sharing information with our friends, but rather than just sharing what you are having for dinner, or what your dog looks like wearing sunglasses… why not broadcast your goals and when you are going to achieve them? Broadcast them at every opportunity and there will be plenty of people ready to mock you for failing… which will encourage you to succeed.
3 – Create an ‘implementation intention’.
Studies have shown we are much more likely to do something if it is officially made part of our daily schedule. If you think you need to go for a run…put it into your diary as a meeting or set a reminder on your phone.
4 – Restore ‘self-control’!
Many sources claim that self-control is not unlimited, we only have so much. Once it’s gone, it’s gone – so you need to find a way to make it more sustainable. Exposing yourself to nature and laughing are two great ways to re-load your self-control…but be warned that exposing yourself IN nature and laughing about it could get you in trouble!!
5 – Avoid temptations.
This might seem obvious but it’s very important. As we have established ‘self-control’ is limited so once it has gone then you are on thin ice. For this reason it is important to avoid any unfavourable situations. If you don’t have junk food in the house then you can’t overindulge in the evening. If you take a different route home you won’t be as likely to pop in to the pub for a couple of pints after work. If you avoid that trip to the gentleman’s club with the lads then you won’t some awkward credit card transactions to explain to the Mrs…