Resolutions Don’t Work

By Azzy Aslam

Power Habits, Routines, & Processes. It's all down to habits.

23 Jan, 2020

New Year resolutions don’t work. You will already have heard or read somewhere that 95% of us will never keep to the thoughtful resolutions we make at the start of the the year. It’s probably not a surprise that most if not all the resolutions you made this year are the same as the ones you made last year.

In a matter of few weeks the resolutions we made will begin to look ropey. And a few weeks more, ususally by mid February, most of them will be discarded are we carry on with business as usual. This will be good news to all the regular gym goers. They will now be able to find barebells where they should be – on the racks and not littered around the gym!

So what’s going on?


The First Blocker

The first thing is we take on too much. We have a list of 3, 4, 5 or more things we want to start or stop doing. The chances are each one of them will have a few other things they will impact. There is little thought of how each resolution will impact your day to day life. Of course you want to see the benefits but each year you see little or no benefit simply because you attempt to take on to much.

If we take an extreme example, it’s a bit like saying, this year I am going to climb Mount Everest, complete a Triathlon, do 5 day water fasts each month, stop smoking, and be home by 18:00 each week day to spend time with family. If this was a friend of yours, I am sure you would suggest they tackle one thing at a time. If you won’t, then I certainly would.

Pick one thing. The one thing you want to tackle and focus on. When you put energy and time on one thing you are more likely to have reach a successful end. More importantly to make it part of you habits and routines.


The Second Blocker

Your brain (limbic system) and your body will start a revolution against you. You notice this at other times when you are trying something new. When you are attempt several changes, the two will really start working against you.  They will be saying:

“Hey, what’s this that you’re doing?”

“Don’t be daft, you’ve never done this before!”

“You know you tried this last year and it did’t work then and it’s not going to work this time either”

“You’re going to kill us !”

“All your friends and family will leave you if you carry on like this”

“Hey, life is meant to be easy, why make it tough on yourself?”

The brain’s main, if not sole purpose, is to keep you safe. It constantly scans for threats to your (and it’s own) well being. If you start running and you have run in 20 years, it sees this as a threat. It  manifests as chatter in your head. And aches and pains in your body. For most of us it’s the mind that gives in before the body. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to the warnings, just recognise you will be faced with a big challenge from your brain.


What to do

To make your resolutions turn to reality the first step is to pick one. Just one.

Focus on this one change you want to make. Break it down, if it can be broken down in to steps. Work on one step at a time. Work out the habits and routines that will help you make it happen. There is always habits and routines to virtually everything we do. Understanding which habits and routines you could build to help you turn your resolution to reality.

Then repeat, repeat, repeat.  Repetition is the key.

Regular and consistent repetition will build the habits and make it happen. Once, it feels a part of your life, you can pick another resolution or challenge and do exactly the same. You have a much better chance of making more changes in a year by working on one at a time.

Get out that list of resolutions, pick one and plan your success!

Good luck and have a hugely successful month, year, and life.

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