Why New Year Resolutions Fail

Whether it was to lose weight, give up smoking, run a marathon or walk the dog every day there is a strong chance you’ve already relapsed. According to research by Norcross 2002 25% don’t even make it past 7 days.

Why do New Year’s resolutions fail so badly?

There are so many reasons but I want to focus on one which happens to be the reason nearly all changes fail. Your habit. It is almost as difficult to break bad habits as it is to introduce a good habit. Plus, most bad habits like chocolate or smoking give us instant reward. Creating a good habit like eating healthy does not give us this instant feedback to keep us motivated.

A habit is very simple, it is something you’ve done repeatedly without giving it any conscious thought. Our subconscious mind knows our habits and makes them happen. So, we need to convince our subconscious mind that we have a new habit and it needs to pay attention.

We do this by creating a small habit that is too small to fail. Start slowly, as my 5 Simple Tips to Develop Good Habits explains. If you want to run a marathon you wouldn’t run 26 miles on your first attempt even if you manage it you are unlikely to come back the next day. But twice a day you could run to the end of the road and back, then after 28 days perhaps you would double that distance. Developing the habit is more important than the act itself.

We’ve all heard of the yo-yo diet, it’s not easy to lose weight at any time although having the motivation to do it for a few weeks and lose a stone is quite common. The weight comes back almost immediately because we haven’t developed a good habit or ultimately changed our lifestyle. If you want to run a marathon or lose weight and stay healthy you need to change your lifestyle and we do this slowly by developing a good habit.

Perhaps you want to develop your mind spiritually and without any doubt developing a habit of meditation is the way to go initially. My 4 Step Simple Meditation to clear your Mind is great for explaining how to meditate, but this will not make you meditate twice a day for the rest of your life no matter how good it feels when you try it.

Meditate twice a day for just one minute. Yes, just one minute. Remember it is not the meditation that is important at this stage, it’s building the habit. It is getting to a stage where your subconscious mind will not allow you to reach the coffee before spending a few minutes meditating. After a month increase it by 1 minute, so by the fourth month you will be meditating 4 minutes twice a day. If you stick to this after 6 months you will have meditated for over 20 hours and also developed good habit.

Even better, tie your habit to an anchor. An anchor is something you already do every day. Perhaps you take the kids to school, on your return meditate or log your food. If 300 press ups a day is your goal start doing one press up before your teeth every morning, then increasing it by 1 each day.

Now, this is important, research shows that missing a day is not a problem and you do not need to start from the beginning. You need to remember this because you will miss days, at first might be because you forgot, later because something happened that thrown you off course. You need to know this is okay and perfectly normal.

Making these very small changes every day takes just a few minutes can have massive impact on your life, even better you would then have the ability to make any changes you want because you already proved you can do it. It doesn’t matter how insignificant the amount you begin with, it is what you end up doing that will make the difference.

If you want help there is a link at the top of the page to message me, please do so.

If this helped you, it will help somebody else!

You've just read an article by Steven Webb —  Guiding you through the most difficult times. Here is a link to my podcast Stillness in the Storms and Inner Peace Meditations.

I write to arm you with resilience and inner wisdom, helping you find calm in life’s chaos. Follow me Medium or on substack.

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Steven Webb

Steven Webb is a renowned meditation teacher with over a decade of experience. Known for his unique approach to quieting the busy mind, Steven navigated through a life of adversity to find his own inner peace. Now, he shares his wisdom to help others build resilience and find tranquility even in life's most turbulent times. Through his writing, courses, and podcast "Stillness in the Storms," Steven empowers people to discover their own sanctuary of inner peace when they need it the most.
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