This is why your New Year's resolutions fail: 10 reasons
Usually the days between Christmas and New Year's leave us enough space to think about ourselves a little more than usual. Traditional conclusion of these reflections: Something has to change! With a glance at the calendar, it is decided that the upcoming turn of the year should mark the beginning of a new phase of life. Smoke-free, more athletic, ernährungsbewusster, more relaxed, more attentive, more diligent at work - only you know what you're really about.
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At the same time, there are hurdles and stumbling blocks that are far less individual. Why do resolutions fail time and again? Where do typical traps await you? What can you do to avoid falling into them? We've gathered ten tips for just about every form of resolution, so you can turn your vision into your new reality.
1. Wrong sources of motivation
You made good resolutions because that's what you do at the turn of the year? Under these circumstances, you will almost certainly throw them to the wind the first time they get in your way. You might even just forget about them! At its core, a resolution with a chance of success is defined by the fact that you sincerely and, at best, on your own initiative want to make it happen. So-called intrinsic motivation is often the best engine for real change. If you can rely on this drive, half the journey is already made, so to speak!
2. Underestimated challenge
Ambition and cockiness are direct neighbors. While the one is perfectly suitable for implementing good intentions, the other can quickly lead to the opposite: If you take your self-chosen task lightly and dismiss it from the outset as a simple exercise, you have a) really set the bar too low or b) have an unpleasant surprise in store. In either case, your path to the finish line will be made more difficult! And speaking of...
3. Goals too big
Often associated with the underestimated challenge: The tendency to overshoot by miles a realistically achievable goal. You're going to touch a barbell for the first time in January in order to participate in a bodybuilding competition in July? At the latest on stage you should realize that you wanted too much too fast. As mentioned, there's nothing wrong with a healthy dose of ambition - but if you consistently bite off more than you can chew, you'll be doing your motivation a disservice in the medium term.
4. No specific goals
The opposite of the utopian goal is a "just have a look" attitude. Sure, in case of doubt, that's still better than complete inactivity. But let's be honest: Without a symbolic (... or for budding sports enthusiasts possibly quite real) finish line in mind, it might be much harder for you to stay on the ball in the long run.
Most people derive enormous motivation from working their way to a certain milestone - even and especially if they have initially struggled to get off the ground. The harder the struggle, the more satisfying the triumph! Therefore, determine for yourself, at least roughly, why and for what you are fighting.
5. Missing milestones
We summarize: A goal should be defined in principle, but should not be set unrealistically high. In order to be able to orient yourself in this broad gray area, it is advisable to set milestones. For example, if you smoke a whole pack of cigarettes a day, quitting cold turkey - rigorously quitting from one hour to the next - could easily pass for such a lofty goal.
But five fewer cigarettes every week before you try a full week without for the first time after a month of slow weaning? Small goals on the way to the big one provide you with a sense of achievement that keeps you believing in your plan.
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6. Lack of discipline
The point that is known in common parlance as the "inner pig dog". Millions of people can attest that it not only barks, but bites: it stalks persistently and waits for its moment to make your resolutions fail. With bared teeth, he literally forces you to rationalize a supposedly good excuse for all your noble plans.
Going for a run? Wasn't possible because of the drizzle. Fast food again? No time for a balanced meal. But another cigarette? It was an incredibly stressful day. And is certainly the last! Most things worth doing require effort. So be sure to avoid falling into old behavior patterns at the first resistance!
At the end of the day, whether good things come to those who wait or those who are in a hurry is a question of personal philosophy. If your good intentions go beyond a fresh haircut, however, we urge you to be patient: Do not, under any circumstances, let yourself be thrown off track by the fact that results come less quickly than originally hoped.
Whether physically or mentally, people need a certain period of adjustment for almost everything, and this can vary greatly depending on the matter and individual conditions. Get this into your head: Good intentions are usually a marathon, not a sprint.
8. No pressure
Although we emphasized in the first point that the motivation behind the New Year's resolution should be intrinsic at best, a little outside pressure can be helpful. The emphasis here is on "a little." For example, a proven tool here is to share your resolution with people in your immediate circle.
Maybe you can even motivate someone to join in? In any case, it increases the likelihood that you won't give in to your inner pig if good friends inquire curiously about your progress from time to time. Do you want to have to grudgingly admit that you chickened out again? Exactly.
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9. Time management
Let's move on to the absolute classic among the excuses for not keeping resolutions: "I just didn't have time". And sometimes it really is true! All too often, however, the well-known phrase merely exposes the fact that "wrong" priorities are being set; at least in the sense of "counterproductive for the resolutions made".
If you want to integrate a two-hour sports session into your daily routine, you will have to make time sacrifices elsewhere. Do you sleep a whopping ten hours a night? Are three hours guaranteed to go to gaming and Netflix? Unless you're willing to shift your focus, you'll actually lack opportunity to pursue your goals.
In the greatest hope that we will be allowed to cross this list item off again sooner rather than later, but: The well-known health crisis and the restrictions in everyday life that it brings with it thwart plans of all kinds. While in many respects our hands are simply tied, in other cases Corona by no means has to ensure that you can't keep your good intentions. If possible, make sure that its cornerstones are crisis-proof - for example, by stocking up on sports equipment for your own four walls in case access to the gym is once again denied or made more difficult. Resist the trend to use Corona as the new universal excuse!