Why New Year’s Resolutions are likely to fail

About two months ago, when everyone was gearing up for the new year, checking things off their bucket list, buying fancy planners and binders for 2020, I made a pact with myself to not have any new year’s resolutions this time around. I had thought this through and had some valid reasons for justifying my decision, the most prominent one being – if procrastination is an art, I am indeed, an artist.

For the first three weeks of this new year, I was observing my friends and family members diligently, keen to see if they had managed to abide by the promises that they had made to themselves. The conclusion drawn from my observation was that, while very few individuals managed to stick to their resolutions, majority of them seem to have forgotten what their resolutions were in the first place. I wasn’t entirely shocked by the outcome of my mini social experiment. Although the result was something that I expected I wasn’t ready to accept it without a proper explanation.

Hence, during a particularly sleepless night last week, instead of aimlessly wasting an hour or two on the internet, I kept wondering as to why new year’s resolutions fail most of the time. We are bound to delay tasks that we’re not fond of and entirely capable of coming up with a million excuses to avoid them. Hence no amount of self promises will help you clear your wardrobe, embark on that strenuous walk to the gym, quit smoking, reply to a thousand unattended emails, etc. unless you discipline yourself. Self-discipline once again happens to be the key in succeeding here.

Just how turning a task that you dislike into a habit can prove to be difficult, turning hobbies into habits can be difficult too as sometimes it takes away the feeling of enjoyment from them. For example, I love reading books but today I don’t read as much as I did back in school. This really bothered me and so a few months ago I decided to read at least three books every month. Soon after I decided this, I found myself reading as if it was an obligation for me to finish three books in a month and to prove a point. It took away the from the sense of happiness and excitement that I felt while reading a book otherwise.

Most of us set deadlines for ourselves whenever we take up an assignment and doing so has its own set of pros and cons. For some people it does a marvellous job of establishing control. However for others, not being able to complete the task at hand before the assigned deadline causes a feeling of dejection. Thus it is necessary to prepare yourself for failure, not once, not twice but multiple times to successfully keep up with your resolution.

Moreover, let us not be slaves of the Gregorian calendar. Resolutions do not have to be reserved for the new year or the first of every month. Every fleeting moment is an opportunity to begin again, to start something new. As always, it is easier to preach than to practice but having said that, now my only resolution to spend more time doing things that I love, without having that imaginary sword of pressure, judgement and deadlines hanging over my head.