Why most New Year resolutions fail

According to a survey, in 2014 most people didn't make a New Year's resolution but those who did chose issues around weight and fitness.

Although it's easy to be motivated and optimistic during the first few days or weeks of January it's often the case that with the passing of time people get tired, disillusioned and many give up. Often they blame themselves for lack of willpower, motivation and determination but the truth is, that it's more likely to be a lack of careful planning and preparation that causes them to fail and nothing to do with their character.

Failing to achieve one's goals is disheartening, but for those who consistently try and fail, the damage can go beyond feeling disappointed. Rather than trying a new or different approach, or seeking professional help, the response is frequently a relapse, followed by another attempt. Subsequent attempts tend to be more extreme and require more willpower that few people can maintain over time.

Some dieters will be so relieved to come off their strict diet and enjoy the foods they formerly banned, that they may overcompensate and end up heavier than when they started. Then next time they go on a diet they will have more weight to lose and their hope of success will already be compromised. If you expect to fail, you probably will!

The point is that willpower alone is not enough to make a positive change when there is some internal conflict (eg. I want to be fit but I enjoy smoking, I want to exercise but I like staying in to watch TV, I want to lose weight but I love eating unhealthy food). This conflict needs to be resolved, and although it is possible to do this oneself, sometimes it needs the support and insight of a well qualified professional to discover the quickest and easiest route to success.

If you give up something you love without replacing it with something else, you will be left with a 'big empty hole' in your life and feelings of loss and emptiness. Before too long you are likely to seek the comfort of the habit you had before. On the other hand if you can find a way to avoid your old habit by acquiring a new positive one, you will feel better, and before too long your new habit will be established so that it no longer requires any effort on your behalf to maintain it.

Doing exactly the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is not just a waste of time and effort, it may make matters worse. Change is easy when you know, (or are shown) how.



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Written by Lesley Lyle DipHE Clinical Hypnosis, MAPP

Lesley Lyle is a university trained Clinical Hypnotherapist and Applied Positive Psychologist. She runs well-being clinics in Harley St, and New Forest.

"Anyone can be happier and healthier through a better understanding of 'what makes them tick."… Read more

Written by Lesley Lyle DipHE Clinical Hypnosis, MAPP

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