Every year on December 31, when the clock strikes midnight we make personal promises to ourselves that we will change our lifestyle to become better people, with most of us give up on these goals within a month. Amy Gallagher, founder and director of Tula Wellness reminisces about why she gave up making New Year’s resolutions.
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions many years ago. Why? Simply because they don’t work. And if my experience alone isn’t enough to convince you then the bleak statistics back me up… only eight per cent of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and most other people make them last a week or less. Just because the clock strikes midnight on December 31, we are naive to think that this date change will bring with it the power to overcome all the bad habits we have spent years establishing.
New Year’s resolutions set us up for failure because we believe that making a vow on a particular day will magically turn our lives around. But real change requires commitment, preparation, support from mentors, help from family and friends, and the willingness to go through some tough and uncomfortable moments. If we don’t have these things in place, then guess what? You won’t stick to your resolution and you’ll end up feeling worse than you did before as you deal with the feelings of guilt and thoughts of ‘I’m a failure’.
New Year’s resolutions are hard to dismiss though when they are so ingrained in our society. How many magazine articles, adverts and social media posts are we bombarded with in the run-up to the year change, bearing that Godawful and unoriginal phrase ‘New Year, New You’. A Google search on this phrase returns over 13 million results. It’s everywhere we look and it’s difficult not to get sucked in, especially if you do want to make a lifestyle change.
And that’s the key – many of us are keen to make a lifestyle change so we can be happier or healthier or more successful. However, a lifestyle change must be a heartfelt desire, not something you feel you should do because of peer pressure or because that magazine article told you to do so.
So, if you do want to make a lifestyle change (I refuse to use the word resolution) – here are my top tips:
- Make sure the change is something you really, really want.
- Have a mentor or confidante in place – someone you can talk to when the going gets tough.
- Be prepared to endure some tough and uncomfortable moments where it will be easier for you to go back to your old ways. Have some coping mechanisms in place to endure these times.
- Be realistic and know that you may fall off the wagon at some point. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again with a renewed energy.
- Set some key milestones along the way and reward yourself when you reach them
And my biggest piece of advice – don’t wait for the New Year to make the change. Your intention to make positive changes can happen anywhere, at any time or any day of the year.