Why New Year Resolutions almost never work and what to do instead ?

Have you ever gone through this phase?

Where you were so pumped up, geared up and you did a lot of new year resolutions….and after a couple of days or weeks , you see yourself deviating from your goals and then you start losing your focus, then reality sets in….and then we forget our goals and our routine life takes a toll over us….and everything starts to fizzle out…

There are millions of reasons why you fail but today we are going to address it from a Scientific Perspective

So here are my .02 cents

1. Don’t tell anyone about what you want to do, at least not directly.

The act of announcing what you want to do to your friends and family — and hearing their approval — provides similar satisfaction to achieving the goal, giving you a “premature sense of completeness”.

With your self-satisfaction meter already filled before you start, the motivation to work hard is reduced.

2.Instead telling people what to do , lay out a plan to execute your idea.

This can be very powerful. Break down what you want to do in simple and achievable steps. Write down plan of action. Execute the plan. Reward yourself for smaller achievements in order to get your motivation upto the higher level of success.

3. Don’t set too many goals or highly ambitious goals.

It’s not wrong to aim for high but when you are setting goals…this theory never works. You may be knowing about this concept called “Compound Effect” where it’s evident that if we try to change something drastically, it doesn’t work for long time because payoffs are not immediate so we need to create something where we can get small but consistent payoffs so our motivation doesn’t fizzle out.

You must be aware that it takes around 21 days to form a habit  and we are going to learn how to use this curve to reach out your goals, change your habits.

goal setting curve

1st week

When you start making resolutions, first 7 days are very hard to follow through, but push forward. In first 7 day period, you may feel a lot of resistance from your brain, your brain will start rationalizing on why things are not going to work out. It will try to put you in the comfort zone. You will feel a lot of resistance from your body.

2nd week

After first 7 days, the initial resistance becomes less, but still there is a way to go. You may feel that it’s not worth the try. Your body will start giving up on you. (Atleast it feels like) but don’t lose hope. It’s the process. Set smaller and achievable goals. Reward yourself constantly and keep your motivation going.

3rd week

Then the last 7 day period, your resistance will become very much less and some new things will fall in place but still there is a resistance. Now your old bad habits may start to take your control. They will try to throw you off the balance.

If you want to get rid off the old bad habits— there are two ways

  • Get rid of it step by step. Don’t give up fully as it can cause extreme deficiency of Dopamine and can actually backfire on you.
  • Create obstacle around the habit. If you are addicted to drinking, buy your drink from a place where it’s difficult to reach or will take too much time to reach there.It’ll automatically stop you/prevent you from indulging in that habit.

After 21 days, there is not any magic that you automatically continue but it becomes sort of habit but still push through it.

I am sure this post will help you to set and accomplish your new year goals efficiently. Like and share the joy.

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Sukrut is a passionate geek, internet visionary and a full time blogger, he has been teaching MBA students from the past two years, he is a chemical engineer by qualification,. Read my full story here

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