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Why is it hard to keep Resolutions?

Reasons Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Often Fails | Fortis Bangalore Psychological Experts Guide
  • Jan 07
  • Mental Health

New Year sounds like new beginnings. Ring a bell…time for resolutions! The idea of New Year always makes us believe to reformat our lives just like we reset our computers but in reality, the first day of New Year is just a calendar event. Nevertheless, the concept of a fresh start drives us to reorganize and work towards our happiness and wash away the discerning experiences. It is wise to inculcate the desired mental makeup before we engage in making fresh resolutions. 

 

Before we make fresh resolutions, it is important to understand why resolutions fail in the first place. Below mentioned are some of the factors that make it difficult for us to stick to our resolutions: 

 

  1. Discrepancy: When there is a mismatch between our attitudes, beliefs, and practices in comparison to external factors like family and society at large, this would result in significant inner dissonance and an uncomfortable state of affairs which causes us to rebound to our comfort zones.

 

  1. Homeostasis: The body has an internal mechanism to maintain equilibrium, be it biological or psychological, and to avoid pain. For example, when we put our hands on the fire, the sensation of pain drives us to withdraw our hands to reduce further displeasure. Similarly, when there is a fear of external validation or rejection, it is natural to avoid or withdraw from social settings in order to reduce emotional turbulence.  This implies that any deficit state, emotional or biological, will be naturally taken care of by the mechanism of homeostasis. This happens when we fail to identify our real needs and necessities, especially when setting up resolutions. While making resolutions, we often choose to be ideal than being realistic. 

 

  1. Lack of awareness of oneself: In order to bring about any change, we must first identify our strengths, weaknesses, limiting factors, and various other tendencies. We must be well aware of our previous patterns of success and failures and set our goals accordingly. When we are aware of the factors that cause us failures or distractions, we would plan our journey which ensures lesser setbacks or alternatives to deal with them. Choosing to stay in denial of our weaknesses only leads to a drop out resulting in frustration and poor self-esteem.

 

  1. Un-SMART goals: When we set goals that are NOT Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time-Bound (SMART), the probability of failure to achieve our goals would be quite high. While setting our goals, we must look for individuality than consensus. It should be intrinsically driven than incentive-based or extrinsically driven. Internally driven goals have proven to be more long-lasting and fruitful and they are set more mindfully. 

 

 

How to make habits and sustain them for a longer time?

Habits are behaviors that are performed and reinforced routinely. The habits that are more convenient, rewarding, and for which we feel more accountable are sustained for a longer time. To maintain convenience, we must make sure that our goals are well structured and organized as we are naturally prone to avoid or delay something that is chaotic or complicated. To transform a behavior into a habit, we must not overdo it in the beginning; rather we must be gradual in our approach.  For example, the more sustainable way of quitting tobacco is to do reduce the number gradually and avoiding high-risk situations followed by a genuine appreciation of our success. We must be easy with ourselves if we fail; it is persistence that is important to be successful. We must not count or rate our success on the basis of external validation only. It should be convincing to oneself more than others. Accountability comes mostly when we are intrinsically motivated to do something. Accountability encourages self-regulation and self-control. 

Also, we must not expose ourselves to multiple changes at a time. It makes us feel pressurized and burnt out leading to incomplete tasks resulting in the generalized belief that “I am not good for anything” or “I am a loser.”

 

Why is it difficult to learn or start new behavior after a particular age?

Any change demands a state of openness or acceptance. Nevertheless, age can be a detrimental factor in learning something new or unlearning. As people grow with experiences, there is a tendency towards aligning with the favorable decisions made in the past and indulge in self-serving attributions towards automatic internal attribution. This results in a firm automatic belief for lesser consideration of external attribution resulting in inflexibility and mental set.

 

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