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November 15, 2017

Meta: Controversy surrounding New Year’s Resolutions.


As much as fireworks, merry making, endless family events and way too much food all around are hallmarks of the festive season, so is looking ahead. Making plans, goals, laying out your dreams for the next twelve months and forming those steadfast resolutions, that will hopefully become habits and will help pave the way to you becoming the most successful you. However in recent year there has been a large amount of controversy around the success of these so called New Year’s Resolutions and whether this time honored tradition actually helps us.Contention Around New Year’s Resolutions

The tradition of New Year Resolutions are nothing new and most certainly weren’t devised as a marketing scheme like some other holiday rigors, no New Year resolutions date back to the Roman Empire, however it seems that despite the fact that as a culture we have been practicing this tradition for thousands of years we still can’t seem to stick to them. After all, if you’ve ever been to a gym in January it is insanely busy, however go there during March and the numbers are barely the same, so where did all of these motivated people go and what stopped them from sticking to it?

Contention Around New Year’s Resolutions

Yet, the reason we are unable to stick to these resolutions may have more to do with the way our brains work than we realized, for example, the types of goals that tend to make it on our resolution list are usually the same year after year. This can be anything from wanting to lose weight or wanting to learn a new skill, or wanting to be more involved in some area of our lives, whether that is health, family or our careers.

However, the main trigger point that prompts failure before we even embark on our journey to success is the fact these New Year Resolutions can simply be stated without requiring any form of commitment or behavioral change from us. Basically, you’re getting excited about earning an award without ever doing any work or feeling extremely proud for losing weight without cutting out soda or lacing up your trainers. The problem is we choose resolutions around tasks that we do not necessarily enjoy and therefore are less inclined to actually go out and do them; furthermore the reinforced behavior from the previous year’s failure of this same goal reinforces the desire to not actually go out and stick to the resolution.Contention Around New Year’s Resolutions

Other barriers include procrastination, because reality television is a lot more exciting than running a marathon and the fact that our habits influence us greatly. Therefore in order to build a lasting resolution, a couple action steps must be taken, firstly a little realism to the fact that it most probably will not always be enjoyable is needed and secondly make use of mindfulness or the awareness of ones thoughts, feelings, and space. You can train yourself to either remove negative associations with tasks, such as working out or studying, and you can also train yourself to remove emotions from tasks needed to achieve your resolutions. Please note all things take time, habits took a long time to form and will take time to go away.

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