New Year's Resolutions: A Love-Hate Relationship

According to most dictionaries, a "love–hate relationship" is a kind of relationship that involves simultaneous or alternating emotions of love and hate—something particularly common when emotions are intense.

This definition applies to my relationship with "New Year's Resolutions" - I love them in January, but I hate them during the rest of the year!

I feel that we, humans, are always looking for ways or things that can motivate or inspire us. Most of us feel that we need to change or improve something. So, many of us go through the process of preparing a list of resolutions during late December or early January of each year. We see it as an opportunity for change. 

Unfortunately, while about 75% of people stick to their resolutions or goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later, a 2002 study found. Clearly, it is very hard to maintain the enthusiasm that motivated us to prepare our list of New Year's resolutions throughout the whole year.

It is there a way that we can stick to our New Year's resolutions? 

The reality is that many of the resolutions that are in our list are nothing else that changes that we would like to make to our lives. In many cases, these changes are habits that we have, but that we don't like. Many of these habits are affecting our work, health or happiness. 

But, if these changes are our own "habits", why are they so hard to change?

According to some expertsit's difficult to change habits because if we aren't sure why we are changing, don't fully believe we are making the right choice, or question whether what we are doing will work, we are likely to settle back on our regular or traditional behaviours. 
So, we don't change anything or state status quo.

I believe that the main problem with New Year's resolutions is that for most of us, it's not easy to find the endurance, motivation or mental force to change what we have been doing for years. 

Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford University, suggests something that I could work:

"next time you're trying to make a change, figure out what your current default is, and remind yourself exactly why it isn't working

Then look for ways to change your default so you don't have to fight the old default as often.

 And feel free to be your own cheerleader when the going gets rough.

 Look for the first evidence (a pound lost here, a dwindling credit card statement there) that what you're doing is paying off".

It's not easy to stick to our New Year's resolutions because humans are creatures of habits. It's not easy for us to change our habits. But, if some people can do it, it means that it's possible.

Bernadette Farrell from Huffington Post provided two tips that I am planning to consider when preparing my own New Year's resolution:

(1) Choose an activity that meets one or more of your basic human needs. The more your activity meets your needs, the more likely you will be to stick with it.

(2) if one of your resolutions is to lose weight or be healthier, then choose an activity that is enjoyable and appealing to youWe all have a memory bank of positive experiences that we have accumulated over the course of our lives. One way to access those memories is to ask ourselves, "What kinds of things did I love doing back in the day?"  The answer to this question will help to identify those activities that appeal to us and that we can benefit from getting involved in again.

Are you planning to make a New Year's Resolutions list?  Are you including the same resolutions that you had last year? Are you trying something new?

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