Each coming year, feelings of potential transformation and hope fill the minds of millions of people each year, hoping that this is the year that they will finally attain their ideal body, learn a new skill, or climb up the workplace ladder. With 2020 supposedly marking a new decade, this effect is expected to increase drastically, with more and more people planning to take their resolution into action. According to the Fitness Industry Association, around 12 percent of all gym members sign up in January, with most of them quitting or stop going after around 24 weeks. Even with seemingly endless motivation, many people struggle with maintaining their resolutions. Only the most motivated and strong-willed people are able to keep their resolutions for more than half of the year with truly the best of the best being able to hold out for the entire stretch. Even as new studies and tactics are found each new coming year, the results stay the same: most people cannot keep their resolutions; so how can people like you and me hope to keep ours?
The trend of making New Year resolutions dates back to some 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylonia. During a festival honouring the new year, the Babylonians’ were said to make promises of paying back their debts or returning any objects they had borrowing to the gods so that they would not fall out of their favour. Today, the act of making resolutions in the new year is still practiced and even celebrated globally but is most commonly practiced in the Western hemisphere.
In 2020, you and many of your friends, family, and loved ones have probably come up with some sort of promise to better yourself whether it is a long-term achieving goal like losing a couple of pounds or something short-term like to not flunk the next couple of tests. Either way, along the journey of a new year, every person, no matter how will experience or have experience some-sort of motivation-drought in which they just can’t seem to stick to their resolutions.
“So often, people seem to be influenced by their friends, their family, what they see in society. I think it's important for people to set goals that are for themselves and unique to themselves.”
— Jonathan Alpert, Pyschotherapist
Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist, performance coach, consultant, columnist, and author who has written countless books on mental health and self-help, states that there are three main reasons why failure to maintain resolutions occurs. One such reason is that often enough, many people fail to make their resolutions specific enough. Resolving just to “eat healthier” or “lose weight” is often not detailed enough of a resolution for you to stick to it. A better way to make a resolution is to add specific easily-attainable details to your resolution such as running around your neighbourhood once a week or even planning to lose a certain number of pounds by a set date. Another reason many resolutions fail after January comes to an end is that people expect too much, too soon. Following the old saying “Rome wasn’t built in one day” the same applies to whatever goal you are seeking. Many people often expect too great of a result too soon in their journey which can often lead them astray. Whether more time just needs to be spent fulfilling your resolutions or you’re just not seeing progress, it is essential to realize that this is only beginning and that results will come in due time. Similarly, another problem people face when making resolutions is that they take on way too much too fast. There is some merit in quitting something “cold turkey” or starting something immediately but in the case of resolutions, people who have stuck to their resolutions were more often to take them in small steps.
Whether you’re planning to practice finding the right new year’s resolution for you this year, it is important to never be complacent and always seek to better yourself but in the end, it all comes down to whether or not you’re willing to put in the work (with the right steps).