If you have monitored or casually observed the lifestyles of your friends and family, you have likely come across the ‘New Year resolutions’. Whether you believe in them or not, you cannot deny it is a major part of transitioning into the new year, with all its promises and advantages. However, the promises and resolutions soon fail – in fact, about 81 to 92 percent of them do not make it past three months.
What this means is simple – eight times out of ten, chances are highly likely you will fall back into your previous patterns, rather than sticking to a new behavior. We do understand it perfectly though; changing and adjusting your behavior is a difficult task that you cannot simply do in a day or a week.
What are some of the reasons that make people fail in their resolve? For you to overcome these challenges, you need to know the pitfalls to avoid, and the science that lies behind behavior changes. Here are some of them, along with possible solutions.
Attempting to change every aspect at once
The solution here lies I recognizing the fact that you cannot change multiple things at the same time, so you learn to select one thing and perfect it as much as possible. Instead of wasting your energy on multiple things and finding out you did not achieve much progress, behavior change researchers all agree that taking one step at a time or a few things helps you achieve much more.
In fact, the most you can change at once is three habits, not more. In addition, all these habits must be very minor for you to make significant progress.
For instance, doing one pushup every day, flossing one tooth, or looking in the mirror when getting dressed and affirming yourself. Once the habit becomes a routine behavior, you can then move on to other habits you would like to change.
If you are still struggling, then you can pick a keystone habit and work on it until it puts the rest of your habits in line with what you want. For instance, putting a monthly budget for all your expenses if you have a problem with saving or gambling the money away. You then decide that you want to stop making frequent visits to the best New Zealand casinos, which helps you save funds in the long term, and helps you purchase other important items or save money for a rainy day. You not only receive the immediate benefits, but the same decision also affects other aspects of your life positively.
You start off with a habit that is too big
When you are trying to improve your habits, most of the time it is wiser to start off with small steps and goals that lead to a bigger habit. This is because starting a behavior is the hardest part of changing your entire lifestyle.
For instance, your New Year’s resolution might look like, ‘Going to the gym three times a week and losing 50 pounds by mid-year.’ However, you soon realize even the act of going to the gym requires so much mental work especially when you have had a long day at work, and you have little or no willpower to finish your workout routine. When you find yourself in such a situation, the best solution is starting off with smaller habits that lead to the bigger goal of losing weight and going to the gym frequently.
Any new habits you select need to be non-threatening, and make them easy to accomplish every day. That way, you keep your motivation levels high, even when you do not feel like doing it – and you also do not feel like giving up because you slackened off.
Examples are many – if you want to read a book every day, start by reading two pages before you sleep. If you want to buy an item, start by saving your money in a savings account every day to build up your funds. If you want to run a marathon, start by running 100 metersevery morning.
You are looking for the end result instead of the process itself
When you are setting goals for yourself that you want to achieve, chances are high you are looking at the end result instead of the process. For example – how much pounds do you want to shed? How much money do you want to save? How much less do you want to drink? How many books do you want to read? And so on.
You tend to focus on outcomes because you naturally want your changes in behavior to get the results you want. However, the truth is this – new goals will not give you results. It is the lifestyle that changes. The lifestyle is not something you build in a day; it is a lifelong process you must go through. Therefore, you must direct your energy into changing your lifestyle, not getting more favorable results.
Failing to modify your environment
You cannot be in a negative environment and expect to operate there and get good results – it is like being exposed to allergens and becoming surprised that you fell sick a day later.
In the same way, achieving your goals involves changing your environment. For example – you cannot expect to build your health if you are constantly consuming unhealthy food, it is impossible to not drink when alcohol is constantly surrounding you, it is impossible to accomplish your tasks when you are distracted by social media and text messages – the list goes on and on.
It is difficult to admit it openly, but your habits are simply a response to the environment you find yourself in. the more you perform a task in a favorable environment, the greater chances you have of succeeding.
Achieving goals and resolutions is a process, though many people fail along the way and do not understand why. However, when you think about it, it all lies in the process and your willingness to change small habits every day – that is what determines if you will succeed.