Why don’t New Year’s resolutions work… and what to do instead?

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As the New Year rolls in, it’s customary for many of us to embark on a journey of self-improvement through the creation of resolutions. However, if we take a closer look, it’s evident that the success rate of these resolutions is far from impressive. So, why do New Year resolutions often fall by the wayside, and is there a more effective approach to personal growth?

Most people around the world have a number of list of resolutions for NY.
👉🏽Only 31% of people stick with the promises they made to themselves the prior year.
👉🏽81% fail by February.

If you’re one of the many who did make those lists (usually long ones), you were probably highly motivated and committed, truly believing that that day was the first day of the rest of your life, and the things would be different from that point on.
You had resolved to exercise regularly, eat more healthy, spend more time with your loved ones, express gratitude every night, meditate and the list goes on. It sounds terrific!
And for the first days or even weeks you actually did what you said you would do. And then you stopped, the excitement went away, the motivation dropped & you were back to where you were before.

One common pitfall of resolutions is their tendency to be overly ambitious and extensive. We often compile an extensive list of goals, from fitness and financial aspirations to career advancements and personal relationships. The sheer magnitude of these resolutions can be overwhelming, leading to burnout and eventual abandonment.

The key to sustainable change lies in the subtle shift from resolutions to habits. Rather than setting a laundry list of aspirations, focusing on building one or two habits at a time can be a game-changer.

Here’s why this approach tends to be more effective:

Sustainable Progress

Habits are built through consistent repetition, and their gradual integration into daily life ensures sustainable progress. Unlike resolutions that are often set with an end goal in mind, habits become an integral part of your routine, promoting lasting change.

Mindful Transformation

Trying to change too many aspects of your life at once can lead to cognitive overload and stress. By concentrating on one or two habits, you can direct your energy and attention toward mindful transformation, fostering a deeper understanding of your behaviours and motivations.

Less Pressure, More Focus

Resolutions can be burdened with a sense of urgency, especially at the beginning of the year. Habits, on the other hand, allow for a more forgiving and gradual pace. This approach reduces the pressure associated with instant, dramatic change and encourages a more focused and sustainable effort.

So, what’s the secret to successfully adopting habits over resolutions? Here are a few practical tips:

Start Small

Begin with manageable habits that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. As these habits become ingrained, you can gradually introduce more challenging ones.

Consistency is Key

Aim for consistency rather than perfection. Even small, daily efforts can lead to significant changes over time.

Track Your Progress

Keep a journal or use habit-tracking apps to monitor your progress. Celebrate your successes and learn from any setbacks to refine your approach.

In conclusion, while the temptation of New Year resolutions may be strong, the path to lasting change lies in the cultivation of habits. By focusing on one or two habits at a time, you’re not just making resolutions; you’re making a commitment to a lifestyle that fosters continuous improvement. So, this year, consider embracing the power of habits and embark on a journey of mindful, sustainable transformation.

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Luca is the founder of XPATGirls.com. No, it’s not a he, but a she and she’s not Italian but Romanian. She’s currently based in sunny Portugal and in her past life she was a world traveling fashion model jumping from one exotic location to the next. Her motto in life is that the world is a book – the more you see the better the story. While she has a great interest for fashion and travel, her love for people is greater. She is a certificated coach in positive psychology and a happiness trainer. On top of that, a proud mom of twins. She thinks being a mom is the most challenging, difficult and definitely most rewarding jobs she has ever had.

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