How are your New Year resolutions going? If you’ve been finding it a struggle to keep them, you’re not alone. Here are 6 reasons why the majority of New Year’s resolution don’t pan out, and why you shouldn’t feel bad ditching them.
1. Studies Show Resolutions Don’t Work
A University of Scranton study showed that only 8% of people who set resolutions actually achieved them, meaning that the vast majority don’t. So as a concept, resolution-setting is one that doesn’t actually work.
2. Life Changes, Goals May Need to Too
Life is unpredictable – when you set goals in January, you can’t possibly be aware of all the things that will happen during the rest of the year. This is why it’s often unrealistic to expect yourself to stick to a goal that remains unchanging, while the rest of your life evolves. Whether it’s a job change, having a child, moving homes – many things can change your life, your schedule and what you want out of your year. When a resolution is no longer compatible with the rest of our lives, we end up necessarily dropping them.
3. Resolutions are Often Impulsive
Most people don’t spend a lot of time crafting their New Year’s resolutions, which is one reason why they don’t have much staying power. When a resolution is created on the spur of the moment, whether influenced by your loved ones or sparked by something on your wish-list, the lack of follow through and viable action steps mean that it’s more often than not, fleeting and ephemeral.
4. They Set You Up for Failure
Resolutions are often created as a binary goal – you either achieve them, or you don’t. With this ‘all or nothing’ mentality, it ends up to be self-defeating. When we slip up, and we all inevitably will, we will tend to assume that we have failed at it and there’s no chance for redemption. Then, we give up, and give ourselves no room for making mistakes or trying again. Success usually is the result of many bumps along the way; more of a process.
5. They Can Make You Feel Worse About Yourself
Resolution-setting often creates an opportunity for negative self-talk. As mentioned above, when we ‘fail’ at it, we often create reasons around why we failed, criticizing and getting down on ourselves for it. This creates an exercise that is ultimately self-defeating, making you feel worse about yourself than when you first started out, and that’s not the purpose we set out for!
6. Setting Intentions is More Effective
Instead of setting goals that you can ‘fail’ at, setting intentions is a more productive way of going about it. For example, intending to keep a positive mindset, even in times of difficulty. With an intention set, you can use it to help you in whatever circumstances that you’re faced with. In that way, any time an obstacle arises, you have ammo to handle it by staying aligned with your intention.
Achieving your goals is still feasible with a proper action plan and focused intention. However, making a resolution is more like making a birthday wish – for seriously achieving feats in life, a different approach looks to prove more viable.
This article was originally featured on Wably as “6 Guiltless Reasons to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions”.