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Why I’m Not Making Any New Year’s Resolutions

Hint: It's not down to a lack of willpower.

by Bexx Henderson in Goal Setting
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

I haven’t made any new year’s resolutions for four years now.

Why?

Because, at least for me, they just don’t work.

I used to set myself the same new year’s resolutions every year.

Did I stick to them?

Of course not.

I used to think it was my fault.

“You’re too weak.” 

“You have no willpower.” 

Sound familiar?

You need to know this:

You are not the problem.

It’s not a character flaw.

It’s not down to a lack of motivation, or willpower.

The whole concept of setting new year’s resolutions is what sets you up to fail.

Here’s why:

New year’s resolutions encourage you to be all-or-nothing in your approach.

The clock strikes midnight, and BANG! It’s time to do ALL THE THINGS.

Step away from the chocolates.
Put the wine away.
It’s chicken and broccoli from here on in.

Oh, and don’t forget to go to the gym, drink three litres of water, get 9 hours sleep each night, make time for self-care – and somehow manage not to stress too much as well.

This is not sustainable long-term.

The last time I set resolutions, back in 2013, I decided to take part in a 60-day Paleo challenge with my other half.

It makes me cringe a bit to talk about it now, but it was the done thing at the time. 🙄

It went really well for the first two weeks.

We ate a lot of bacon, steak and sweet potato mash. But we played by the rules.

And, despite being fucking knackered (hello, lack of carbs), we did start to see some results.

I think I even had abs for like one afternoon. 

So what happened next?

We went out for the day one Saturday, but couldn’t find anywhere suitable to eat. So popped into Asda on the way home.

We bought our steak and broccoli for dinner, along with a packet of Mini Eggs (each), a box of doughnuts and five triple chocolate cookies.

Then we sat in the car park, and devoured the lot (minus the steak and broccoli).

On Monday, we got “back on the wagon”.

(Side note: I hate this phrase)

But it didn’t last.

Because restrictive diets rarely do.

We didn’t last the full 60 days. In fact, we didn’t even make it to 30.

And, instead of helping us develop healthier habits, it set us back even further.

That’s what deprivation does.

When you deprive yourself of something, you want more of it.

That’s not a character flaw. It’s not something to be ashamed of, or feel guilty about.

It’s just human nature (and science).

This doesn’t just apply to food, either.

An all-or-nothing mentality makes it difficult to achieve your goals. Whatever those goals are.

Because life isn’t perfect.

And putting yourself under pressure to be ‘perfect’ will always leave you feeling less than.

It’s a vicious cycle.

If you want to create new habits, you need a degree of flexibility. You need to understand what makes you tick – and work with that, not against it.