Why people suck at keeping New Years Resolutions
It’s that time of year again!
Every year, someone tells me excitedly:
I am going to go to the gym/yoga/Pilates every day and lose 10 pounds a month, and get SO FIT you’ll see a 6-pack!
This year, I am TOTALLY going to get out of my $50,000 debt 100%, and live on beans and rice until I have $100,000 saved as my net worth.
…and inevitably at the end of February (even mid-January), they start dropping off the bandwagon like flies.
Why? Because of the following reasons:
1. THEIR GOALS ARE TOO BIG AND GRAND
Unrealistic, is another word people might use to describe those goals.
Going from a couch potato schlob to a 6-pack-toting Amazon (or Hercules) is unrealistic because you haven’t developed the habits or the discipline to get there.
2. THEY DON’T REALIZE HOW MUCH WORK IT TAKES
(A.K.A. People are inherently lazy… myself included!)
Going to the gym daily takes planning to have gym clothes ready, it takes motivation to not just pick up a meal for takeaway and head home to Netflix or your saved TV shows on Tivo.
…then if you make it to the gym after a long hard day of work that left you exhausted, you need to change into those clothes, get on a treadmill and burn your buns for an hour?
Even I am getting a sore behind thinking about the work it would take to reach that level of dedication.
3. THEY DON’T SEE THE LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH DECISIONS
Deciding at the start of the month that you will eat beans and rice to clear that debt, live on pennies and basically do “what it takes” to become rich, is something you can only really believe in at the start of each month.
How do I know this?
Because I DO IT ALL THE TIME.
I tell myself every month that I won’t spend, I’ll be good with my money and something always comes up. Luckily, I have a healthy net worth cushion to indulge myself with (not for long at the rate I’m going !!) but it is something I know all to well.
The long-term consequences of committing to go to the gym daily, or to live on peanuts each month is something that is not sustainable because as I mentioned in reason #1, the habits and the discipline has not been developed enough to get to that point easily.
It’s like deciding to climb a mountain when you get winded walking up a steep hill.
HOW NOT TO SUCK AT KEEPING A NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
- Don’t make big, grand goals that are clearly unrealistic (this reach for the moon to land among the stars crap doesn’t work)
- Stick to ONE resolution, and don’t make 50,000 promises, you will just feel guilty when you fail
- Understand it takes a lot of work and mentally prepare for it
- Plan for it and realistically look at your schedule or budget and ask yourself how you can make something change and happen
- Start with a small commitment (once a week), then ramp up as the year goes on to increase the pressure (going up to 3 times a week)
- Tell someone to keep yourself accountable to this realistic goal
As for myself, I personally don’t make New Years Resolutions. I always end up forgetting about them.