New year, old resolutions

There are many traditions that we associate with the changing of year. From kissing or hugging at midnight, to eating a grape on each of the twelve bell chimes and make a wish for each one. One of the traditions most followed in many countries is to make new year resolutions, goals that people intend to achieve in the new year.

It also known that, in most cases, people do not fulfill the resolutions, or just manage to do so with one or two. Why does this happen? Why year by year we make the same resolutions and we do not achieve them? The answer obviously varies from one person to the other, but here are five reasons why, and maybe you will identify with one or more of them.

1. We make new year resolutions because of habit.

This may be the most significant reason. While planning our objectives, do we do it because we actually want to achieve them? Or because it is a new year and everybody is doing it. For some reason, we believe that to begin a change we must wait until the beginning of the month, a Monday or the start of a new year. This is not necessary. If you think about it, you will see that many of the important changes in your life did not begin on a Monday, or on January. You made them when something inside you clicked, or when you were forced to do it. When I decided to go to the gym and train because I was not happy with my extremely thin body, I did not do it on January or at the start of a month; when I wanted to start writing as a daily habit and not as a sporadic hobby, it was not at the start of a new year. If you really want to achieve a resolution, it does not matter when you start it, which is related to the next reason.

2. In reality we are not interested in the resolutions we choose.

Do you really want to achieve the resolution? Or you just go with the flow of the majority. A lot of people has the resolution of doing exercise, and that is why gyms are full in January, and by March they go back to the usual customers. Are you really interested in working out? Or you just add it to the list because you know health is important. If health is an important motive, maybe you should focus in other resolutions in which you are more interested, like not drinking sodas or sugary drinks from Monday to Friday, eating more fruits and vegetables daily, or taking a walk each day.

3. The resolutions imply very big changes.

It may happen that you select a goal that is outside your capabilities. Are there people that from one day to the next stop smoking? Yes, there are. Are there people that from one day to the next begin a diet, follow it and do it so all year? Of course. Can most of us achieve such drastic changes? No. While planning our new year resolutions we must consider what we are willing to do and which are our capabilities. Let us imagine that someone is interested in reading books and currently that person does not read books at all. Is it possible for that person to commit and read 12 books per year and achieve it? It is possible. Will it in no doubt achieve it? It is possible, but not probable. Maybe it would be better to have as a goal only six books for the entire year, or even three. The important thing is to analyze if we have not only the time but the dedication to achieve the resolution.

4. We have way too many resolutions.

It is better to have only one resolution to which we dedicate all our effort and time, rather than having five or more that we partly achieve. A resolution should be an important commitment, a change in our lives, so if we really want to dedicate enough time to it, we should not divide our attention. It is also important to analyze if we have resolutions with conflicting objectives. For example, if one person wants to exercise one hour a day, to read one hour a day, and practice piano one hour a day, that person needs to review if it has those three additional hours available to do all three resolutions. Maybe it would be best to choose only one.

5. We do not give resolutions the importance we should.

Unfortunately, not achieving resolutions has been normalized and that is why, in January, social media are filled with jokes and memes about not following diets, exercises or any other resolution. If we do it just because everybody is doing it, it does not matter which resolutions we choose and it would be best to focus our attention in other things that do have a priority, and enjoy the memes.

I hope these points helped you analyze why you have not achieved the new year resolutions in the past and maybe establish new ones that are more plausible. The tradition of making resolutions can be a powerful tool, if we give it the importance it deserves. If you do achieve your resolutions, you will feel so satisfied and proud of yourself that next year you will do it again and you will achieve great changes in your life.

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