Article by: Jane Sandwood, Freelance Writer
Let’s face it: not many people get to keep their resolutions past January. The good news, though, is that we get another chance to make positive changes in our lives and finally improve our health, start saving more money or maybe even pick up a new musical instrument as of course, the Chinese New Year does not happen until February 16th. But this is where the good news ends. The whole concept of New Year’s resolutions, whether we list them down in January or February, is flawed to begin with, so there’s a big chance that we’ll be back to our old ways by March. Here’s why:
We rely too much on motivation
The thing with motivation is that it comes and goes, so it’s not a good foundation to build our resolutions on. This is why people quit a week into January. Making a list of resolutions in December is exciting because everyone’s doing it. Everybody’s looking forward to making some big changes along with the coming of the new year. Once January rolls in, however, the excitement wears off just in time for them to actually start doing the work so a lot of people end up just quitting.
We try to do too much too soon
According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, willpower is a limited resource. The more temptations we have to resist—as what occurs when we have too many resolutions to keep—the faster our willpower drains. When this happens, we inevitably go back to what’s comfortable, which is our state before we started with our resolutions.
The good news is that the same study points out that you can easily improve your ability to resist temptation just by living a happier life. This means you should strive to minimize your exposure to things and situations that stress you out. If it can’t be helped, however, relaxing activities like spa treatments and massages at your local wellness center should help you recharge much more quickly.
Also, try to make your resolutions as easy to stick to as possible to further lessen the amount of willpower they drain. Take eating healthier, for instance. Instead of eating just salads, why not go for a diet that incorporates delicious meals into the menu? You’re already doing something good for your body. Why not enjoy yourself along the way?
The secret to success
It all boils down to how good you are at managing your limited willpower. As long as you reduce the number of things that can drain it, minimize stress either through relaxing activities or the complete avoidance of stressful situations, and make your resolutions as easy to commit to as possible, you can make lasting positive changes in your life not only during the two New Years but throughout the rest of each year as well.