June 19, 2024

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The Annual Puzzle: Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

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By Devika Mankani, Holistic Psychologist at The Hundred Wellness Centre and Co-Founder of Chearful.com

As the confetti settles and the cheers of New Year fade, many of us find ourselves armed with a list of resolutions. These goals, brimming with hope and determination, often become distant memories by the time spring comes around. With 15 years of exploring mental health and wellness dynamics, Devika observed the patterns behind the crumbling of these well-intentioned promises. Here’s why New Year’s resolutions often fail, and it’s not just about willpower.

The Hype Train and the Crash
The first of January comes with a societal pressure cooker, often setting unrealistic expectations. The hype encourages sweeping declarations, not sustainable goals. By February, the train of high hopes crashes into the hard reality of daily routines, leaving resolutions derailed.

Vague Visions and No Roadmaps
“Get fit” or “save money” are ambitions without anchors. Without specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives, these visions float in a sea of ambiguity, lacking the structure of a strategic roadmap.

The Lone Wolf Syndrome
Many embark on the resolution journey alone. Without a support network or an accountability buddy, it’s easier to slip back into old habits when the going gets tough. Humans are social creatures, and isolation can be the quicksand of aspirations.

Overcrowded Plates
Today’s pace of life leaves little room to add extra, even if it’s for self-improvement. Piling new resolutions on top of an already full plate is a recipe for stress, not success. Overcommitment can lead to underperformance in every area.

All or Nothing Approach
Many fall into the trap of the all-or-nothing mindset. One slip—a missed workout, a splurge on a sale—can feel like a total failure, prompting the abandonment of the entire resolution. This binary thinking ignores the natural ebb and flow of life’s progress.

Mind Over Matter Misconception
We often underestimate the power of ingrained habits and overestimate the control of conscious thought. Resolutions are seen as a mind-over-matter battle, but research suggests that environment and subconscious cues play significant roles in behavior change.

The Path Forward
Understanding the pitfalls of New Year’s resolutions can illuminate the path to lasting change. In upcoming posts, we’ll delve into setting attainable goals and creating an environment conducive to real transformation.

It’s time to make resolutions that stick, not just for a year, but for a lifetime.

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