By nature, humans love the idea of starting over and new beginnings. It’s why many cultures celebrate ringing in the New Year. Resolutions always start out strong but about a month in,studies showthat most people give up.
The New Year inspires us taking a chance to change and make a fresh start, but our lives easily turn into just endless cycles of setting and resetting resolutions. So if we love making resolutions so much, why do we always fail at them? Because as much as we love a resolution in theory…our brain? Not so much.
- We let our imaginations go too far. We tend to imagine that solving one thing (like losing 20-pounds) will fix all other areas of our lives. We focus on perfectionism with no consideration of reality.
- Our goals require hard work. We are naturally wired to “avoid pain, seek pleasure, and exert the least amount of energy possible” while most of our resolutions require us to do the opposite.
- We overshoot our goals. Vowing to cut carbs for an entire year after eating a whole pizza the night before isn’t going to end well. This can actually be self-sabotaging without the right support in place.
- We’re creatures of habits which are hard to set and break. It can be too much on our brains to dramatically try to cut off a habit or routine and we’ll ultimately fall back into our old ways.
On the other hand, habit and routine can be “powerful tools” for achieving real change.Here’s how you should go about making resolutions:
- Get serious about planning. Break your goal down and commit to specific actions that will help you achieve the big picture. Take time to plan when, where, and how you're going to get something done.
- Consider what could go wrong. Strategize in your brain what the obstacles are and how you’re going to deal with them when they pop up.
- Reward yourself. Celebrate the little wins. Teach your brain that making wise choices feels good and is well worth it.