Press the Reset Button on New Year’s Resolutions

Written by: Marlena O´Donnell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Traditionally, gym membership goes up in January. On average, only half of the new members keep going to the gym after 6 months. Of course, this year is unusual as gyms are closed, and we are using yoga mats, home equipment, and fitness videos instead. However, the gym membership fluctuation is just an example of how we approach New Year’s resolutions. After the festive period of indulgence and being faced with several months of cold weather and not a lot to do, we feel that we need to make changes in what we look like, how healthy we are, and how we feel. We make New Year’s resolutions, and we vow to do more fitness exercises, take up new hobbies, learn new skills, change jobs, move house, give up bad habits, and the list goes on. It all starts well at the beginning of January, and then our resolve begins to wane.

Why do most New Year’s resolutions fail?

There are various reasons why we give up. The most common ones relate to the difference in our expectations and reality.

You set unrealistic expectations.

Is it possible to learn to play the piano like a virtuoso in a couple of hours? Not really, yet we often fall into the trap of giving ourselves hard to attain goals.

Smaller achievements are better than no achievements!

Your heart is not in it.

We often think that we should please others because it’s the right thing to do or because this is what we expect from ourselves. But if we set out to do something for the reasons that do not lit up our hearts, the chances of success and satisfaction are slim.

Take losing weight as an example. If you are doing it as all your friends are slim and you no longer fit into your clothes, you may not be inspired to carry on. On the other hand, if you set out to lose weight because you want to be healthy and fit to enjoy your hobbies or time with your children, you are more likely to stick to the goal.

You don’t like the process.

There are often many ways to achieve our goals. We usually get fixated on one way rather than allowing our creativity to take over and develop a process that we enjoy. If you want to get fit but hate exercising, how about some intensive gardening or power walking or dancing around the house to your favorite music?

You lose motivation.

Most of us believe that we have to feel motivated to take action. But… you can take action even when you are not in the mood, when you feel like spending your day in bed binge-watching Netflix, when you think you have no energy to do what’s needed to get you closer to your goal.

Feeling motivated is not a prerequisite to getting things done!

Your failure sets you back.

We have good intentions, and then we slip. We may choose to go on a vegan diet, but one day the smell of a bacon sandwich is just too overwhelming, and we cannot resist it. Sometimes this one small slip weakens our resolve to carry on. After all, what’s the point? The damage is already done.

But this is not true! Past failure is not an indication of future success. You can always press the reset button and start again.