According to research out of the University of Scranton, the answer…. Our New Year’s Resolutions.
With 2018 upon us, we wondered what ARE the biggest barriers to making New Year’s resolutions a reality? Here’s what we found in our research:
Overwhelm: Quite often, we see the New Year as a great opportunity to “make a new start”. We create a long list of things we want to change that we’ve wanted to change, possibly for years, but never have. What is it about the New Year that makes us think that we can suddenly tackle something we’ve failed to tackle in the past?
Old Habits: Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all creatures of habits and our brains depend on habits of thought to keep us sane! We know that we spend approximately 95% of our time operating in response mode. We only think deeply 5% of the time because it takes work and our brains work hard enough to take care of the details of life. That’s all because habits of thought are simply connections of neurons that work together. The more we execute the habitual behavior, the stronger those connections become. We liked this blog about how our brain makes New Year’s resolution hard to keep and what you can do about it.
Generalizing: Next to habits of thoughts, this might be the biggest barrier to our success. A Marist poll of 1,140 adults surveyed in December of 2014 found that the top 5 most common New Year’s resolutions were to lose weight, exercise more, be a better person, improve health and stop smoking. Clearly, these are wonderful aspirations, however, how will you ever know you’ve achieved success with such generalized statements? You could lose 3 pounds and declare success, but is that really going to make you feel better, look better or make your clothes fit better. And what does it mean to “Be a Better Person”.
It’s a given that very few of us will take off for a vacation or long week-end away without having a clear plan in mind. Not only will we know where we’re going and what we want to do once we get there, we’ll have a plan for how to get there, where we’ll stay, what we’ll eat and what we’ll do when we get there.
With that in mind, it’s curious to think we would set any kind of resolution, also known as a goal, without giving consideration to how we will make it happen. As you think through what you resolve to change in 2018, consider creating one or two clearly articulated goals and then create a thorough plan to ensure you achieve success!!