Every year, January compels us to decide we’re going to finally become the (insert virtue here-->strong and flexible, morning meditator, daily drinker of 64-ounces of water …) person we aspire to be.
But how many resolutions have you actually kept? Be honest with yourself. None? You’re in good company.
Studies indicate that 30-50% of people don’t even make it through January. And 80-90% don’t make it through one year!
Hmmmmm. So it seems like most of us are setting ourselves up for failure with traditional resolutions.
Why do resolutions fail?
Resolutions are habit changes, and most of us choose resolutions that require a lot of willpower.
Your willpower sucks
In his fantastic book Atomic Habits, James Clear explains that willpower is essentially the ability to delay gratification. It is impacted by two factors: your environment and how rested you are. If we just assume we have the willpower to make a habit change without considering these two factors, we’re likely to fail.
How’s your willpower? Are you the friend who says no to nachos, that second drink, and dessert when you go out with your buds? I’m not either.
What does this mean for resolutions?
Let’s take a relatively simple one like meditating first thing in the morning.
If you have a schedule to keep, this means you either have to:
The problem is that meditating for even 15 minutes in the morning means having to make at least two behavior changes. Easy to see why most of us fail.
So what’s the solution?
In this excellent article, Clear suggests the following 5 tweaks to habit changing:
“If you’re serious about building a new habit, then start with something small. Start with something you can stick with for good. Then, once you’ve repeated it enough times, you can worry about increasing the intensity. Build the behavior first. Worry about the results later.”
Me, I’m working on cutting processed crap from my diet. That means not having store-bought salty, crunchy, or sweet snacks in my house (environment) and getting enough sleep (rest), water, and good nutrition to feel satisfied. I hope to make it past January this year…
How about you? Did you make a resolution this year? Share in the comments.