New Year, New Me.
Come January 1st, everyone is determined to make whatever year it is their best year yet. The gyms are packed, the fruits and vegetable isles at the grocery stores are picked through and all your friends are busy being sober & saving money.
But by the time February rolls around, almost 80% of those goals have become a distant memory; by the second week of February, our bad habits tend to make an appearance again.
The New Year has always been a time to reflect. Reflect on the year, the things we wish to change and our desires for the year ahead. Back in the day, the new year marked the start of harvest season. It was Julius Ceaser who decided to make January 1stthe official start of the New Year. He did this to honor the Greek god Janus, who believed in reflecting on the past and looking to the future in celebration of the New Year. The Romans offered sacrifices and made promises for the new year – a tradition we still carry on today.
So why are we so eager to change but almost always lose momentum so quickly? According to studies, almost 50% of adults take the time to decide and implement new years resolutions and yet less than 10% actually follow through with these changes for longer than 6 months. To make it worse, more then 50% of people can’t remember why they chose the resolutions they did halfway through the year.
The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study around the hype of the New Year. New starts and New Year tend to give us a skewed version of our past failures and current aspirations giving us false confidence that this is the year that we will actually change our lives. Essentially, when we try to make resolutions and changes, we are trying to change our daily habits and routines.
The most common new year resolutions are:
- Losing weight
- Exercising more + Eating Healthier
- Quit Smoking
- Save Money
- Have more time unplugged from technology
There are two major issues with these types of resolutions. The first being they are extremely broad which can help make it easy for you to bend your own rules or justifying your own bad behavior. The second is they are automatic behaviors (habits).
Habits are conditioned actions, such as waking up and immediately grabbing a cup of coffee or turning on the TV right when you get home from work. We all have hundreds of habits, and habits can be changed but they need to be replaced with other habits. On average this takes 21 days.
If you want to make your New Years changes really stick and be effective, think of a plan and not just about your goals and what you want to change. Replacing your old habits with new effective habits will help you reach your goals and actually gets you closer to making the changes you want to make.
Reflection and review are important when making changes but remember to be easy on yourself and if you plan to make changes – commit to them.