The Problems With New Year’s Resolutions

What I love about the New Year is the hope that we all seem to have, every year, at this fresh start.

We believe we can change our lives.

Unfortunately, that enthusiasm and hope often fades within weeks, and our efforts at self improvement come to a whimpering end. That’s not great, but it’s also not inevitable.

New Year’s Resolutions usually fail because of a combination of some of these reasons:

  1. We try to do too many resolutions at once, and that spreads our focus and energies too thin. It’s much less effective to do many habits at once (read more).
  2. We only have a certain amount of enthusiasm and motivation, and it runs out because we try to do too much, too soon. We spend all that energy in the beginning and then run out of steam.
  3. We try to do really tough habits right away, which means it’s difficult and we become overwhelmed or intimidated by the difficulty and quit.
  4. We try to be “disciplined” and do very unpleasant habits, but our nature won’t allow that to last for long. If we really don’t want to do something, we won’t be able to force ourselves to do it for long.
  5. Life gets in the way. Things come up unexpectedly that get in the way of us sticking with a habit.
  6. Resolutions are often vague — I’m going to exercise! — but don’t contain a concrete action plan and don’t use proven habit techniques. That’s a recipe for failure.

There are other reasons, but the ones above are easily sufficient to stop resolutions from succeeding.

So what are we to do? The 6 Changes Method solves these problems:

  1. We only focus on one habit change at a time, so our focus and energies aren’t spread thinly.
  2. We implement the habit changes gradually, so we don’t run out of steam.
  3. We start out really, really easily, so it isn’t intimidating.
  4. We focus on enjoyable activities, so we don’t need “discipline”.
  5. We have two months to do the habit change, so if something comes up, it’s but a small bump in the road. And because we’re publicly committed, we’re going to get back on track.
  6. We have a very specific plan with actions built in, using proven habit change techniques.

If you stick with the method, you’ll do much better than you’ve done in the past with New Year’s Resolutions.

‘Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.’

~ Mark Twain