Why do people set resolutions? Well, it is human nature to always think ahead and set goals. At the start of something new, making the start of the New Year a popular time to set new goals and expectations for the year ahead.
The majority of people who make resolutions tend to break them I tend to keep mine small to make them achievable.
Has anyone actually been able to keep up with their goal of the year? Probably not. There are many reasons why people may not keep New Year’s resolutions, but instances of New Year’s resolution burnout can be narrowed down to three psychology-related issues: difficulty breaking old habits, focusing on specific outcomes and problems with purpose. Meeting new goals usually requires creating new habits and breaking old ones, but old habits are hard to break.
For example, getting a higher GPA would require you to study more, or wanting to get better at the sport you play will require you practicing the sport more.The list of goals can go on and on, from it being a change in your work, personal or education life.
I tend to make mine based on my education and gaining a higher grade point average, which means working harder in my classes each semester. Even then I cannot always expect the outcome I hope for.
Our habits are ingrained and embedded in our implicit memory, which is also called our automatic memory or unconscious memory. Implicit memory uses our past experiences to help us remember things without actively thinking about them, making it easy for us to stick to similar routines and challenging for us to make changes. This is often referred to as auto-pilot. Habits are also multi-faceted, meaning that many elements reinforce our habits and make them more challenging to break.
Another reason people have trouble keeping New Year’s resolutions is that they focus on a specific outcome, such as reaching a certain body weight. Focusing on a specific outcome can be defeating if you don’t achieve your goal quickly. In most cases, it takes time to achieve a specific outcome, and many people become frustrated and eventually give up before reaching their goal.
For those who want to keep your goals intact all of 2021, you are going to need to form new habits. Developing a new habit as part of your New Year’s resolution means that you will need to consciously think about the changes you need to make, at least until the new habit becomes embedded in your implicit memory. The process of developing a new habit uses a lot of declarative, or episodic, memory, working memory and requires a lot more mental effort.
For me, I try to set goals at the beginning of the year like everyone but always end up not following through because I get too busy or do not have the motivation. So instead of making it a goal for working out more, I focused it more into my day-to-day life, which revolves around school. My goals usually revolve around getting high grades, which I never end up following through with by the time the semesters end.
The secret to keeping your resolution is to:
1. Find your purpose, but avoid focusing on an overly specific outcome
2. Break your goal into components, and set realistic and achievable process goals
3. Make a public commitment
4. Engage with like minded people.
Asking “why” will help you find your real purpose, which will help to improve your motivation. Depending on the bigger goal you can always break it into smaller fragments, for example, if your goal is the get a 4.0 GPA then you can divide that into study hours.
Making a public commitment to achieving your goal can help you hold yourself accountable and ultimately follow through.
Finding a group of like-minded people who you admire will help you stay motivated especially during the cold, dark months of Jan., Feb., and March, when New Year’s resolutions often hit the skids.
Some people may find success and accountability by being part of a larger group, while others may prefer to pair up or join a smaller group. Whatever size group you choose and whether it’s in-person or online, engaging with others will keep you connected to your goals and make you more likely to be successful.
The moral of the story is set your goal and break it down to the bare minimum so you can eventually build it back up with the outcome you were shooting to receive. Find people who want the same thing you are wanting and help each other. Always tell your friends and family because they will hold you responsible and push you to be the best version of yourself.