So 2024 is here! It's that time of year when we think about change, resolutions if you will. We all have bad habits, but change is difficult. Whether it's smoking, diet, exercise, there is something we know we need to change. The question is why do we struggle and often fail to make these changes?
According to a Forbes Health/OnePoll survey conducted in October of 2023, 61.7% of respondents say they feel pressured to set a New Year’s resolution. In addition, many respondents are planning on setting multiple goals with 66.5% stating they plan on making three or more resolutions for the year ahead.
Whether it’s to lose weight, get out of debt, pursue a coveted hobby, socialize more, or something else, for many, making New Year's resolutions is part of the festivities. And with so many people committing to goals for the new year, the hope and optimism that change can happen is in the air. The reality is, however, that over 90% of New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned within just a few months
Why Resolutions Fail
Unfortunately, optimism alone won’t result in the change we want. The reality is there are a number of things about the way we make New Year’s resolutions that set us up for failure before we’ve even started.
We’re Thinking Too Big
One of the biggest issues with New Year’s resolutions is that they often revolve around huge changes like adjusting our eating habits, getting more sleep, or becoming fluent in a new language. “Where we go wrong with New Year's resolutions is there's this idea that it's supposed to be some big, sweeping change, because that sounds kind of sexy, "[But] as humans we’re not wired to make big, sweeping changes.”
As a result, if we want to be able to meet our goal of, say, learning a language, we need to set smaller goals along the way to be successful, like devoting five minutes a day to learning a new word or phrase. That way we can ease ourselves into the change, instead of making an overwhelming change that we probably can’t sustain like planning to be fluent in the new language in four months.
We Aren’t Ready to Change
Another reason we can’t commit to our New Year’s resolutions long-term is that we aren’t ready to change. The model consists of the following stages:
Precontemplation: You’re starting to become aware that there may be something to change
Contemplation: You’re thinking about making a change
Preparation: You start putting a plan together to make a change
Action: You make the change
Maintenance: You determine how to maintain the change
Not to be discouraged, we just need to rethink our approach. A good way to start is with a program that offers a daily goal setting process, like our 21 day professional development program.
Cheers, and have a happy, healthy and prosperous hump day!