At this time of the year, we still see people get excited about the possibility of introducing changes in their lives. People still talk about their personal New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, we see that many of the resolutions mentioned by people we know are most likely forgotten even before February even ends.
Why does this happen? How can someone go from being so excited about something to all but forgetting it? When you look at the psychology of things, it is easy to see why people so easily ‘fall off the wagon’ when it comes to their resolutions.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas being so close together, it is not uncommon for people to throw out all of their healthy habits out the door during this time period. After overindulging in cookies, cakes, and pies for several weeks straight and being too busy to work out, people tend to look forward to getting back to their healthy eating habits and exercise regimen. This is why getting into shape and eating healthy are such popular New Year’s Resolutions.
In the beginning, the change can feel great and even refreshing. However, after a few weeks, a person’s normal appetite and cravings can return to how it was before. The person may feel as though they are being deprived of things, and that can lead them to cheat on their diet.
The good news is that there are a variety of things that can be done to increase a person’s chances of succeeding. It is important to remember that behavioral changes do require time and effort to take effect. To become a new habit, the change of action has to be completed on a regular basis, even when a person doesn’t feel like following through.
To succeed in fulfilling your resolution, a person needs to have a real reason for making the change. The change is going to be difficult to make, and there needs to be a real motivator behind it or it will be easy to make excuses and let the goal go.
When working towards your goal, make it a point to focus on the change you are trying to make, instead of the end result. For instance, if you would like to lose weight, keep your focus on eating healthy food and sticking to an exercise routine, rather than focusing on a number of pounds you would like to lose.
Before you make the change, prepare for feelings of discomfort. Again, using the above example, someone who is used to whenever they want will experience feelings of hunger when they start restricting their eating. Someone who doesn’t work out regularly will experience feelings of muscle fatigue when they start exercising regularly. Be prepared for these feelings and accept that they are just temporary and not a forever feeling.
Most of all, do not allow yourself to make up excuses or procrastinate on your goals. Given the chance, we will take the easy route and talk ourselves out of things that are hard or make us uncomfortable. If you keep a ‘no excuses’ mentality, you’ll have a much better chance at sticking with your resolutions.