Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

New Year’s Eve: There’s no right way to spend it. Some people prefer drinking the night away, others prefer sleeping through it, some spend it with friends and family, while others spend it alone. No matter how you decide to spend the night, the majority of us do the exact same thing: make false promises to ourselves. We all say this year will be “my year” and make plans to change parts of our lives.

Theoretically, this sounds great, waking up to a New Year and being a completely different “You”. However, there is a huge flaw in this plan: The commitment.. How many people can say they still drink 8 cups of water a day like promised themselves they would? How many are still regularly going to the gym? How many of you have already gone back to your bad habits of 2019? Exactly. We are only a month into 2020 and a vast majority of us have reverted back to our old selves.

I admit it, there’s a lot of pressure on the New Year. Everyone expects to wake up on January 1st and be a completely different person with great habits. You’re great for the first week, but then you get busy or tired or some other excuse, and slowly stop doing the things you’ve promised yourself. Building or breaking a habit isn’t easy; it takes time. A month in and you have already given up on the “New You” that you wanted to be. You’ve already given up on bettering yourself because you’ve failed the first month. For a while you won’t think too much of it. You might be a little disappointed, but you’ll shrug it off and towards the end of the year you’ll start making plans to “take on the New Year head on” once again caught in a never-ending cycle of “New year, new me” until you realize resolutions do not work.

There are 365 days in the year. You have 365 days to continue to make yourself better. Every day won’t be perfect. You won’t always wake up and remember to drink your water. You won’t always wake up and remember to make your bed. There are days you won’t even get out of bed. And that’s okay! Just remember that it’s never too late to start your day. On the days you don’t get out of bed until late into the afternoon, you still have a chance to conquer your day. And if that fails, tomorrow is a new day and you can try again.

There are 52 weeks in the year, 52 chances to start your week off right, 52 Sundays to recharge, relax and plan your new week. Mondays suck, we all know it. For a lot of people its the start of the workweek. Instead of looking for reasons why Monday sucks, make the best of it. Start your Mondays out strong. Write affirmations on your mirror to remind yourself that it’s okay to mess up. Try to have the best week you can, but if your week just really sucks, start fresh next week.

That’s 12 months. They say it only takes 21 days to build or break a habit. This means you could potentially develop a new habit every month. As great as that sounds, it’s not a realistic goal simply because you are human and you will relapse into bad habits. Don’t take it personally, It happens to everyone. Instead of forcing yourself to become this squared away person overnight, take smaller steps. Start working on one thing at a time. The first month focus on waking up early and stretching before you start your day. Once you’ve gotten into the hang of it, add another smaller task. Add going for a walk in the morning.

Take it one day, one week, one month at a time. Stop putting all the pressure on the first day of the year. It’s not the only one that matters.

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