Why Can’t I Keep My New Years Resolution?

It’s that time of year again, when people have promised themselves they’re going to ‘do that thing’ they’ve been saving up to do as a New Year’s resolution…. They do this with great sincerity and hope, but then things grind to a halt a month or two into the process.  Why is that?

Sometimes we feel a strange pressure to commit to change because it’s a new year and there’s this ‘New Years’ Resolution’ thing….. We may choose something we’re not really serious about, and let it go when we lose interest in it.  Let’s face it – if something is genuinely important to do, why wait for a ‘magic date’ to come around?

However, we may have chosen something that we really want to change, perhaps we’ve been meaning to do it for a while, and we use the ‘New Year’ excitement to set the goal!  So, why doesn’t it work for so many?  Often, it comes down to the process of goal setting.  People need to set ‘smart’ goals, with a series of steps (Immediate, Short-, Medium- and Long-term).  Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and have a Timeframe attached (‘SMART’) are more likely to be manageable goals that we can accomplish.  Probably the most common reason that ‘New Years Resolutions’ fall over is that people aim for too much, too soon.  When this understandably doesn’t happen, they lose hope and let go of their goal. If you’re struggling to change something important to you, there are many people out there who can help with developing realistic goals and overcoming obstacles to change.

Author: Dr Natalie Shockley, Clinical Psychologist BSc(Hons) PhD(Clin) of  Samford Psychology


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