All the Reasons Why New Year's Health Resolutions Fail

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In the previous post, I tried to convince you NOT to set a New Year's Health Resolution.

In this post, I'll outline the reasons WHY they fail so consistently, in case you're not convinced yet.


The Modus Operandi of a Typical New Year's Health Resolution: 

You want a fresh start, so when the clock strikes twelve, you over-commit to perfect adherence on a big goal with a short timeline that involves drastic adjustments to your daily habits.

You start out strong, but by the second week, your motivation is already beginning to lag.

By week three, your goal feels like a punishment and you don't remember why you committed to this thing in the first place. You talk yourself into relaxing just *a bit* with your commitment.

Week four: Goal? What goal? Like an elastic that's been pulled too hard, you rebound violently in the opposite direction.

You're now FURTHER AWAY from making any sort of lasting change.

This whole cycle erodes your sense of self because you failed to follow-through on a commitment you made to yourself.

SELF-ESTEEM is the result of repeatedly following-through on the promises you make to yourself.

Meaning if you want to change - for realz yo - then you need to understand how to change. In the process of trying to define what will work, you have to clearly understand the things that won't work and why - how not to change, if you will.

That's what we're going to focus on in this post: the reasons why the SHOCK & AWE method of change - aka every New Year's Health Resolution ever - fails consistently.

New Year, New Start. Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash


1 - You weren't ready to make a change

If you committed to making a change that, in reality, you weren't yet ready to make, you'll fail for sure.

Change is challenging and it's usually not pretty; more often than not, sweat and tears are involved.

Your WHY - the reason you want to make the change - is what will allow you to persist when it gets hard or you just plain don't feel like it.

Unless you have a very strong WHY to help you stay focused when the going gets tough, then your goals will fail.


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2 - Your goals were externally motivated versus internally motivated

If your goals are motivated by external factors - fear, guilt, or pressure as imposed by others - you will fail to follow through.

As we've already established, change is challenging, so if your goals are based on some outward thing, you'll give up as soon as it gets hard. And it will get hard.

Any goal you set has to based on internal motivation; it has be aligned with who you are or want to be and the pursuit of it has to bring you some sort of enjoyment or satisfaction.


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3 - You took away your freedom to choose

Almost all diet and exercise programs take away your autonomy. They give you a prescribed plan that you absolutely must stick to because if you don't, the end is nigh!

Here's the problem with that: when you remove your ability to choose, you'll feel trapped and helpless.

It's in situations where you feel as though you have no choice that you're most likely to rebel against whatever rules have been imposed.

Like an elastic that's been pulled too hard in one direction, you'll snap back in opposition.


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4 - You succumbed to black & white thinking

Most diet and exercise programs are extremely rigid; they don't give you the option of having a bad day.

You're often made to feel as though this change is black & white, everything or nothing; you're either ALL IN, or you're ALL OUT.

That model of change is a utopian fantasy; change is rarely so linear as to allow for perfect adherence.

That's where GREY THINKING comes in; allowing for off days and days when you can only make half the effort. Because in the process of change, doing something is always better than doing nothing.


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5 - You overcommitted

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

That's an adorable - and somewhat saccharine - statement.

In the process of change, shooting for the moon means you'll be shooting yourself in the foot. 

Once a goal seems unattainable, the motivation to act disappears.

Instead, set a goal that seems realistic to you; once you've achieved it, set another realistic goal. Do that again and again, and you'll get to where you want to go.


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6 - You failed to see yourself differently

I saved the best (read: hardest) for last.

Lasting change involves a shift in identity; you need to be able to see yourself differently if you want the change to stick.

Any goal that's not in line with the way you see yourself will fail because the action will be "something I'm doing" versus "someone I am."

DOING: I eat vegetables every day.

BEING: I am a healthy eater.


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That was a comprehensive list of the reasons why New Year's resolutions (or any quick & drastic change) will inevitably fail.

So what should you do instead?

Leading up and into to the New Year, I'll be releasing a series of posts on Changing Habits. I'll delve into further detail for each of the above mentioned points, and will offer tools for you to make lasting changes in your life.

Subscribe here to get the post notifications; because every day is a good day to feel your best.

Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash


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