New Year's Resolutions: do they actually work?

New Year's Resolutions: do they actually work?

The year is coming to an end, and it is customary to start thinking about our New Year's resolutions. We plan all those things we want to do but haven't been doing, we promise ourselves the next year we will definitely get around to it and then, another year comes to an end and it's the same old story. Here's what you can do instead.

Here's a fun fact: 64% of the goals we set for the New Year are abandoned after the first month. It takes us just four weeks to let go of those resolutions we swear by at midnight on New Year's eve. So it makes you wonder, really, what's the point of repeating the same process year after year after year? Well, quit having goals is not an option, so the best you can do to break that vicious cycle is to change your approach.

Where do New Year's Resolutions come from?

These goals we set for ourselves every end of the year are usually tightly connected to our values, and to what we consider most important. And is it at this point where it's necessary to clarify something important: your values are not expressed as "shoulds." Simply because one should come from within, from those things that matter to you, whereas the "shoulds" are linked, more often than not, to peer pressure: "I should see my parents more often", "I should go out with my friends every week," or "I should drink less wine."

Where do New Year's Resolutions come from?

"Shoulds" are connected to what's expected of us, as opposed to what we want for ourselves. The main issue? We tend to base our New Year's Resolutions on those "shoulds", so we build our goals based on external factors. This is why, after four weeks, we tend to forget about them. Those goals we set for ourselves were not ours in the first place! Changing the focus is starting to make sense, right?

Are goals a destination?

Well, it sounds like a goal is precisely a place where we want to land. But this concept might lead to frustration which, in turn, can lead to inaction. For example: if your goal is to lose weight in three months, but then something external happens (whatever it is) and you can't reach it, this doesn't mean that progress has not been made! You have moved forward even if you still have some way to go. 

Are goals a destination?

Instead, if you think of goals as a behavioral journey, you will learn a lot of valuable things on the way and you won't focus (meaning: you won't obsess) over a set idea. You will embrace the experience, learn from it, cherish your achievements, and move forward. You will reach your goal, but you will not care about how long it takes because you will be able to enjoy the process.

It will take time, so don't rush!

You don't change your behavior overnight. No matter how many methods you try or how many apps you download, you need to allow yourself the time to get used to a new habit. You need to know that sometimes you will break it and go back to your old self, and then you will get on track again.

Behavior change takes planning, commitment, discipline, and time! The best thing you can do is to set a goal and play it out. This will allow you to see what other aspects of your life will be affected and, most importantly, it will help you have an idea of how much flexibility you can afford to have if you want to enjoy the process. Keep this in mind: you will need to make some sacrifices, but if you don't have room for joy, chances are you will drop your goal sooner than later.

Keep your environment in mind!

Keep your environment in mind

Ok, so here's a thing: our lives are connected to the lives of others. Sometimes, our environment does not want us to change, because that change will also affect them. For example: if you want to lose weight, but you and your spouse go out for dinner twice a week. Well, there's going to be compromise, because something will have to change in order for you to achieve your goal.

This is why it is also important to share your goals with those who are closer to you. They are key to you achieving it. Without their collaboration, your risk of abandoning your goals is higher!

Victoria Thais

A trip to India was all it took for Victoria to realise that meditation is not a fancy word for sitting around in silence. It truly changed Victoria’s life to a less stressful and more mindful one. Now a freelance consultant and journalist, Victoria joined KOKO to share her knowledge on those little things that are life so much better, and cosier.+ info

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