What comes around every year and last for aproxamitly 4 months? Answer- a New Year resolution. I joke – I am speaking for myself of course, and not the general world population. In fact I think I’m selling myself short, 4 months for me an over thinking virgo is actually well – impressive. Whats the key to their success?Guilty of pointing out the obvious, every year at the start of January we all spout those famous words ‘in the New Year I’m’….. to no prevail! Now I no right now I’m probably rubbing off a little negativity however, bare with me it does get positive.
The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, was a mythical king of early Rome. Who was placed at the head of the yearly calendar. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead.
Fast forward a few centuries and we are still keeping up with the Romans.
Each year we all start making plans to make a brand new start or kick a bad habit. It could be something small like starting a skin care routine or bigger, starting a new career. The habit could be health beneficial for example quiting smoking or could just be you want to quite bitting your nails or stop dating bad boys that are no good for your self esteem. Whatever your plans are to change, it’s always rooted and connected to something you’re unhappy with.
Now why do we have to wait till New Year to have the confidence to do something different? Especially, as it’s reported 80% of resolutioners will fail to achieve their resolutions. With most having abandoned them by the end of January!How is it that after all this time, we carry on this mythical ancient tradition. Even though we are aware that they are doomed to fail?
My personal opinion is because as I said before our resolutions or promises stem from something we are unhappy with and consciously want to change to impact positively on our lives. Deep in our psyche, there’s such a culture of ‘new year, new me’. However, what’s to stop you from deciding to be a ‘new me’ on the 185th day of the year? It’s the same with anything we change in our lives. You start a new job on the first day of the month. You get back on the diet at the start of the next week!. We even find order from starting up direct debits for the 1st day of the month.
Is it that subconsciously we only see making changes from the ‘start’ or ‘beginning’ because it’s related to fresh, a do-over? a re-boot? Because it’s new, it seems easy and relevant to reinvent. What’s a better place to reinvent ourselves, than at the beginnings of all beginnings- a fresh new year with a fresh new month with a fresh new day.
Often it’s thought that making a resolution or promise is a mistake and doesn’t work or achieve anything. However the reason they fail is not because of the resolutions itself, its because we make these simple mistakes.
One of the biggest reasons people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is because they’re not specific enough.
For example, resolving to “exercise more” or “lose weight” are easy ways to set yourself up for failure, as they lack ways to mark progress and are unlikely to keep you motivated throughout the year. Instead, try making your goal specific, like running a particular 5K you have circled on the calendar or losing 10 pounds by a certain date. It’s easier to drop out or walk away when you set goals or resolutions that are vague. When it’s really detailed and specific, it’s harder to ignore. Having a timeline on your resolution is helpful.
By March, many people have lost that initial spark of motivation that they had in January. Keep that inspiration alive by continuing to work on your goals, even after facing setbacks. If your current approach is not working, reevaluate your strategies, and develop a new plan. Being flexible with your plan—and even your end goal—will help you be successful. By sticking with it and working on your goal all year long, you can be one of the few able to say that you really did keep your New Year’s resolution
Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality.
Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!). If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Having a timeline on your resolution is helpful, so think of short-term, medium-term, and long-term benchmarks that will let you know you’re on track to achieving your goal.
Try writing down, what do I need to do this week? what do I need to do over the next month or so? And what do I hope to accomplish over the next several months? For example, you could start with something easy during your first week. The following week, you could move on to adding another challenge to what you’ve already added. And the next week, you could aim even higher.
Another problem people face when making resolutions is framing them with negative language.
When people resolve to stop wasting money or stop eating junk food, for example, it often backfires because it makes them think about the very thing they’re trying to avoid.It’s almost like someone saying ‘I don’t want you to think about what a dishcloth with pink and blue stripes looks like,” . You kind of have to think about what that would look like not to think about it, right?
Try framing your goal in positive language instead.
A great deal of how we talk to ourselves impacts our actions and our behaviour. We need to feed ourselves positive self-talk. Instead of telling one’s self ‘Don’t eat junk food,’ we should be informing ourselves the behavior we desire, like ‘Eat carrots and peanut butter as a healthy snack.’
While you might have a long list of potential New Year’s resolutions,
try picking just one to focus your energies, rather than spreading yourself too thin among a number of different objectives. Focusing on just one change at a time is more likely to lead to long-term success. Achieving even one small goal can boost your self belief. For larger goals, consider breaking them apart into manageable bitesize chunks, working on one at a time. Taking on too much all at once can be daunting. It can be particularly difficult as establishing new behavioral patterns takes time and sustained effort. Focusing yourself on one specific goal makes keeping a resolution much more achievable.
The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want, you’re just not sure why you want it.
Another major obstacle people face is the tendency to make New Year’s resolutions that don’t reflect what they actually want. The biggest culprits are dieting and exercise trends. But it can apply to any number of goals, like a career-related goal inspired by what you think other people expect of you. Goals need to be made for yourself, the individual. Often, people seem to be influenced by their friends, their family or what they see in society. I think it’s important for people to set goals that are for and unique to themselves. Figure out why you want to make these changes first and what positive impact they will bring you. When you understand why you’re want to change the changes are easier to implement.
Don’t wait until the last minute to choose your goal. Picking your resolution wisely and putting in extensive planning are essential parts of achieving any goal.
Being prepared means you will stick to your resolution, overcoming anything that might sidetrack you. Experts suggest that you brainstorm how you will tackle a major behavior change. Include the steps you will take, why you want to do it, and ways you can keep yourself on track. When things get difficult, what strategies will you use to stay on the path toward making your resolution a reality? Creating a detailed plan can help you stick to your goal.
If you start working toward a goal without any type of plan in place, you may quickly find yourself giving up when faced with any sort of obstacle, setback, or resistance. For example, if your goal is to run three times per week, what will you do if you’ve missed four days in a row, and how will you proceed if you need to take time off for an illness or injury? You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve them, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and the difficulties you might face.
Get support Yes, you’ve probably heard this advice a million times, but that is because the buddy system actually works. Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated and accountable. Camaraderie makes sticking to your resolution more fun, too. So, ideally, find a like-minded pal or loved one to join you in your goal. Having someone to help you will keep you sticking at it.
The yearly roman ritual of resolution setting doesn’t have to be an annual disappointment. Sometimes, the difference between success and failure is simply choosing the right goal with the right process to go about achieving it. Most importantly, remember to be kind and flexible with yourself and to celebrate any and all progress along the way. It’s not just the end goal that matters—it’s the journey along the way.
What are your New Years resolution and how will you implementment them?
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