We are all familiar with the popular New Years Resolutions: losing weight, stop [insert vice], learn a language, read more, etc. Depending on the study you read, 80%-92% of these resolutions fail. There is a very simple reason we fail at our resolutions: We don’t understand how we actually work. That’s right, and humans are very bad at being human.
On that note, here are some insights as to how people function that will help you make better New Years Resolutions…
You Can’t Add More to a Full Plate
The greatest reason we fail is that we think we “do more” in our day with sheer willpower. If you are a functioning adult in the modern world, the reality is that your day is already full. Demands and expectations from our culture and families compete with our own dream and desires. As such, our days are an ever disappointing compromise betwixt external obligations, needs, and personal longings.
If you wish to add more to your days, you might as well try inventing time travel.
Emotional Needs ARE Needs
For the most part, human beings are well-intentioned. Most of our destructive behavior and vices come from a need to compensate for external stresses and inhuman demands we place on ourselves, or others have placed on us. You can’t work hard without resting, you can workout without calories, and you can’t put take care of others without taking care of yourself.
When most people look back on a full year, they look at all the things they wished they had done and felt bad. Instead, you should look back on how you felt, and ask how you could feel better.
Instead of Doing More, Do Less
If you want to make a change in your life, then resolve to cut something out. The bigger, the better. The easiest way to “work out more” is to give yourself two more hours in the day. The easiest way to lose weight is to sleep more and be less stressed (because then your willpower goes up). The easiest way to spend less money is to get rid of as much as possible, so you can focus on what you need, and enjoy.
New Years Resolutions That Work
- Resolve to lower your commitments, so you have more time in the day.
- Identify things you do to meet the expectations of others, then resolve to stop caring about stupid expectations.
- Resolve to cut out toxic and harmful relationships from your life.
- Resolve tune out, turn off, and ignore input that causes unnecessary discontentment. This can be social media, news, magazines, etc.
- Working hard to make payments? Try living a less demanding lifestyle.
Trying to achieve a significant accomplishment? Slot out time in our day, or week, to work on it and make it sacred. There is no such thing as “spare time.”
The bottom line is that if you keep trying to “do more, be more” and hate yourself for failing every year. Why not try to take care of yourself this year instead? And if your life is full of external obligations you have no control over, ask for help. We all need that from time to time too.