Its a little bit early, but I’ve been thinking and picking over my 2015.We’re just about to get into the circus of the end of another year. Once all the wrapping paper has been put in the bin along with the brussels sprouts we all start making promises to ourselves that next year we’re going to change, or change something about ourselves or our lives that we don’t like. I usually buy a lovely new notebook to record my Resolutions. Sometimes I write in it, other years the book stays in its clingfilm wrapping looking all shiny waiting to be used.
In 2007 a Bristol University Professor did an analysis – and I have no clue how, much less why – on whether we keep our New Year’s Resolutions. He found that 88% of all resolutions fail within six weeks.
The Resolution is a tradition that is most common in the Western Hemisphere but is an ancient practice. the Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year to pay back debts. The Romans made promises to their god Janus – after whom the month of January is named – at the beginning of each year, and in the Middle Ages, knights would renew their vow to chivalry.
The top ten most common Resolutions – and also the ten that are most commonly failed at are (and you know them already):
- lose weight and get fit
- quit smoking
- learn something new
- eat healthier and diet
- get out of debt and save money
- spend more time with the family
- travel to new places
- be less stressed
- drink less
I have personally failed more than twice at seven of these. I do want to change – be a better person if you like, but life always gets in the way. I know the path to Hell is paved with good intentions and I remember that every six months or so. So I get my combat bra and gym kit out, put it in my gym bag and then bring it back home again after work, unused…
I just tripped over this quote which seems so appropriate:
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
So even if you do want to get fit, or learn a new language, just putting your gym kit in your posh new gym bag or buying a language book won’t help unless you actually use them.
According to another study, this time by a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, although people use resolutions as a way to motivate themselves, they aren’t actually ready to change their habits. It can also be considered a ‘false hopes’ syndrome. People make resolutions to say, lose weight in the hope that once they are slimmer then life will change for the better and when the hoped for result doesn’t materialise, they revert back to their old behaviours.
I’m feeling quite cross with myself at the moment, I’ve failed at my resolutions this year, so for next year, I’m going to live by this rule:
“Life has two rules: #1 Never quit #2 Always remember rule # 1.”
And I’m going to try these easy steps:
1) I’m not going to make too many Resolutions – just two or three
2) I’m going to make them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
3) I’m going to celebrate my achievements; no matter how small.
4) I’m going to remember those two life rules
Oh, and I’m going to buy another, nice, shiny notepad and this time I’m going to take it out of its wrapper and write in it….
I wish you every success with your goals for the New Year.