Why do we make resolutions?

There are a number of reasons why we make resolutions. As humans, it’s natural to want to progress in our personal development and to improve upon our lives. Making a resolution provides clarity to our lives. Essentially, it’s like giving us a road map to follow with regard to achieving our goals. Making a resolution also solidifies our sense of purpose.  Making promises to ourselves keeps us accountable, as well.

Without this action, we stray from our intended purpose. This can lead to feelings such as loss of self-esteem, worthlessness, emotional turmoil and confusion. Finally, it simply makes us feel good, with a sense of accomplishment, to achieve the goals we set through resolutions. We’re able to measure our progress, and that’s quite satisfying.  However, we associate setting resolutions with the start of the New Year and in reality we can set them any time we want to.


Reasons why they may not have worked in the past

These promises to ourselves can be powerful motivators in helping us to move forward in our lives. They give us a sense of a purpose.  They also tend to fail to become a reality more often than not. Chances are that you’ve made resolutions, probably with the start of a new year, which has failed to stick. You’re certainly not alone.  Perhaps if we can understand why resolutions often don’t work, we can find a way to make our next one become more successful. Here are three common reasons why your resolutions may not have worked, which are are easy to change.


You take on too much

This can happen in a number of ways. One common error when making resolutions is to choose a bunch of things you want to change about yourself RIGHT NOW.  Your brain can only handle so many things at once.  It’s not possible for you to focus on making too many changes. Instead, choose one or two resolutions upon which to place priority. Also, know that these changes won’t occur overnight.  Experts differ in their opinions of how long it takes to create a habit.  So, bear in mind that progress will occur in small increments, rather than in one magnificent transformation. Understand that taking baby steps to instill new habits will be a far more effective approach than simply expecting to change a long-ingrained behavior immediately.  Have a look at my other blog about how introducing tiny habits to your life can lead to big changes.  


You’ve been too vague

“I’m going to lose weight this year,” is probably the most common resolution ever made after over indulging during the festive period.   So often we start January with the best intentions but by February find ourselves falling off track.  One of the main reasons for this is that our intention is simply too vague.  A well-defined resolution should specify the goal you would like to achieve and a time frame for which you hope to see the change occur.  I prefer to use measurements.  Either way instead of saying how much weight or how many inches you would like to lose, be super clear on what goal weight or measurements you would like to achieve.   In addition, planning should include benchmarks for measuring your progress.  Watch out for a future blog on this.

You’ve lacked focus

Without proper focus on your resolution, it’s bound to fall to the bottom of your list.  “Out of sight, out of mind,” may be a cliché, but most sayings such as these are based in some bit of truth.  Getting busy with day to day responsibilities, letting daily stressors get in the way and other distractions can rob your attention from your important goals.  Deciding to prioritise your resolution and making a plan to keep it at the forefront of your mind will go far toward making it a reality.  If you’re a visual person, create a vision board in your journal, on your wall or even on your phone.

There are other potential reasons you may not have achieved the outcomes you want with past resolutions.  However, these are some common reasons worth considering when setting your resolutions this year to get you the outcomes you want.  

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