Why you should get rid of your new year’s resolutions

Photo by Nonsap Visuals on Unsplash

The start of a new year presents us with the opportunity to reset and choose to be a better version of ourselves than we were the year before. It fills us with hope and a sense of progression, that is, until it gets to February and we realise that most of the goals we set out to achieve have fallen by the way side.

A research paper I read recently, found that, on average, 22% of people fail to achieve their goals after a week, 40% after a month, 50% after three months, 60% after six months, and 81% after twenty-four months (Norcross & Vangarelli, 1988, as cited by Koestner 2008, p. 60 http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-03783-007).

There are several reasons for this, including the fact that most people don’t set goals properly, but I believe the main reason, is that we are in love with the idea of the resolution more than the outcome. For most of us, the intention of becoming a better person; getting fit, earning more money etc, is enough to give us a hit of serotonin and make ourselves feel good. By visualising the person we want to become, we are tricking our brains into identifying with that person, even though we aren't really them.

The reality is that January the 1st is no different to any other day of the year, and by telling ourselves we will start a new routine on that specific date, we are creating a habit of procrastination. Instead, we should condition our mind to be taking action now. If we can create a habit of action, it will allow us to sustain momentum and get used to doing difficult things straight away, rather than waiting for the perfect time.

“Never leave the site of a goal without first taking some form of positive action towards its attainment” ~ Tony Robbins

What if January 1st was no different to December 31st?

We are creating our future now. This is the only time that matters, the only time we have the power to influence what happens tomorrow, next week or in a year.

TLDR: Get rid of your new years resolutions and get into the habit of taking action now. Moving towards the best version of yourself is a continual journey, it isn’t something that exists in the future where you will one day arrive, it is who you are now. Decide that you are the version of yourself you are trying to be this year and ask yourself what actions you need to take on a daily basis to maintain that evolution for the rest of your life.

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