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WHY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS DON’T WORK AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

I have been researching new years resolutions (NYRs) for some time and have concluded that the 1st January is probably the worst time to make a fresh start . I think it would be better if we delay the start date till later in the month.

1 Collective failure

People on a subconscious level expect to fail NYRs because they and many others of their acquaintance have failed in the past. Personal and public history is littered with broken commitments which is magnified through the media and within the family. Telling people about the resolution makes it worse and we start to associate the first of the first month with always failing.

2 End of year blues

In much of the world this time of year is in a sorry state. Viruses and bacterial diseases spread across the northern hemisphere where the days are short and the whether is cold and wet. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder a form of depression due to lack of sunlight. Also much of the world celebrates Christmas where they over indulge with food and avoid aerobic exercise . All these things lead to a reduction in motivation.

3 New Years Celebrations

New year is a time to party so any food or drink resolutions are ruined on the first day. When the spell of the first is broken people quickly sink back into their old ways and the sense of procrastination reemerges.

4 Returning to Work

Due to the Christmas celebrations on the 25 December, many employees and self employed alike have a holiday up to the second of January. The lifestyle during this holiday is broken when we return to work creating a new set of habits. This occurs just when the resolutions are supposed to start. I believe you cannot make too many changes at once. Returning to employment is enough. It is hard to change a further habit at the same time

5 The fragility of Ritual

NYRs are highly ritualistic. We are making them because of a collectively agreed date. This is probably due to a sense of connection with others attempting similar goals. However ritual without substance is very fragile. Our decision to make a change cannot be located on a particular date if we are not ready.

My advice is plan your resolution when everything is in place. You do not associate the date with previous failure. You are not feeling down due to the time of year. You don’t have any collective celebrations shortly after you start the resolve, You don’t have any other changes occurring at the same time and it is not ritualistic. When all that is satisfied then you will succeed .

Peter.

Published inSelf development

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