4 Reasons Your Resolutions Don’t Work!

Road leading to the year 2022
Notepad listing new year\'s resolutions

Here we are at the beginning of a new year once again. So many of us use the new year to create a list of resolutions, goals, and aspirations that we excitedly plan to get stuck into as the year unfolds. But resolutions don\’t pan out for so many of us! You may be told you\’re “just not dedicated enough” or you were “trying to be someone you\’re not”; I think deeper factors are at play.

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve rung in the new year, and I wanted to share some information so you could understand why you may already be facing some challenges staying true to your well-intended resolutions.

You may have noticed your gym is packed at the beginning of the year yet, those new eager faces begin to trickle out by February.

Several factors play into why so many resolutions don\’t work. Here are some behind-the-scenes factors you need to be aware of to achieve your goals with less of a struggle.

1. Lack-motivated goals

What does that mean? Often, when we set a new resolution, we are choosing a goal because we are dissatisfied with our current situation, a lack of health, lack of wealth, lack of freedom, lack of fun, or a lack of fulfillment. We set goals to increase our physical health because we perceive a lack of health.

When we set a goal because we are displeased with our current situation, the driving force for change is to distance ourselves from what we don\’t want. We move away from our lack and closer to our goal. As we do so, our motivation and drive diminish, with a direct relationship with the original driving force. The farther we get from the struggle, discomfort, or challenge we were looking to overcome, the lower our motivation or drive to keep going.

If you\’re looking for a way to determine if your goal is, in part, motivated by lack, ask yourself:

Are you currently satisfied with your current situation?

WHY do you want to achieve this goal you are setting?

(Let\’s be clear here, it\’s OK to want more than what you currently have. The goal here is to dig a little deeper and to discern what portion, if any, is lack-related so we can mitigate the drop-off in motivation.)

2. Your goals are outside your current comfort zone

Of course, they are! What’s important here is to recognize that you are adaptable! You will adapt to your current environment, and that environment will become your comfort zone. Your mind, emotions, and physiology adapt to your current patterns and experiences. As a consequence, everything you want that you don’t already have or experience lives outside your comfort zone.

For example, you experience 45% stress daily, and you start a new regimen that reduces your daily stress intake down to 10%. Awesome right? You would think every aspect of you would be jumping for joy, but that\’s not often the case. The average person has an adaptation ratio of 20%, meaning that, in most cases, that\’s how much they can adapt naturally and still be comfortable. Change needs to happen on all levels and encompasses your mindset (neuroplasticity), emotional body (feelings and hormones), and physiology (cell receptors) and, it takes time.

To simplify what is a complex topic, here’s a general analogy.

Think of an emotional state as ingesting a substance, like alcohol. Those who drink regularly will tolerate a few; those who never drink will find themselves tipsy after just a drink or two. The same thing applies to all your experiences.

Two to three weeks seems to be the average time most can tolerate being outside of their adapted environment, at which point, the mind, body, and emotions begin to push you back toward the center of your comfort zone.

3. Too much at once

Big, sensational goals are golden; implementation is where many set themselves up for failure. Making a number of changes all at once overloads your system. Changing your routine, eating habits, or whatever else your new habits involve feels like a single change. Realize that it\’s not just that one change you are making, but dozens of direct and indirect changes and choices that come along with it.

The best approach to shifting your habits is to choose one or two easy things. Do them consistently for a week or two, then add more once those initial things become effortless habits. Taking on too much at once will catapult you outside of your adaptation comfort zone. In a couple of weeks, you will start forgetting or find it challenging to keep it up. When it comes to sustainable adaptation to change, slow and steady wins the race.

4. Your annual goals are stacked up in the present moment

We jump into the new year with a boatload of goals. Yay, that\’s awesome! However, what tends to happen is that mentally, emotionally, and energetically you have all of the outcomes stacked up in the present moment.

As you move towards your goals, you transition from your current state to your desired state of being. We find ourselves overwhelmed, crushed under a year\’s worth of goals, heaped on us at a single point in time, the present moment.

A positive way to address this is to break down your goals into smaller ones with reasonable future target dates. And, for today, only look at the small, actionable steps you need to take now to get to where you want to be. Don\’t forget to celebrate all your baby steps and give yourself the momentum that comes with daily wins!

Whatever your goals and resolutions are for the year, I’m sure you’ll find this advice will help you stick to them for longer and increase your success. Stick with them long enough and, bingo! You got yourself a habit.

Connect with Anik Malenfant on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!

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