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Why Resolutions Fail

Why Resolutions Fail
  • Getting motivated by negative emotions like fear or regret.
  • A sudden influx of motivation followed by giving up in the first instance of a setback ("All or Nothing" approach).
  • Having a big and unattainable resolution.
  • Not being in terms with the concept of failure.
  • Not committing fully to the process.

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The Dynamics of a Resolution

We all have goals to achieve and behavioral changes we want to implement. Making the resolution is the easy part. The implementation and the work that is to be put in daily is the real challenge.

Social Pressure

New research suggests we are less prone to keep working on our goals after we publicize them. This is because we may end up talking about our goals and celebrating our success prematurely rather than implementing them.

Social Pressure makes us fearful, as we can feel afraid of appearing inept. This negative mindset does not work well where we need daily work.

Commitment Device

A commitment device is a method to lock yourself into behavior modification by associating it with a reward or a punishment.

Example: Limiting or blocking your social media or TV in case you miss your goal.

Soft Commitments

The commitment devices that seem to work better than others are the ones that are like gentle reminders and are not having negative emotions (like fear) attached to them.

A playful commitment device that isn't hard to accomplish nudges us into being successful at our goal.

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Fighting Your Resistance To Change

Developing new ways of thinking initially creates significant psychological discomfort. But to persevere you have to recognize that you will naturally want to hold onto your own personal status quo.

To avoid the natural resistance, re-frame the challenge into something you gain and learn.

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Constantly being available

This makes it very difficult to unwind, disconnect, and “turn off.” It also makes it challenging to be fully present when with family and friends.

To change this behavior, change the way you think about work and understand that being always online it's not healthy.

At this stage, you've changed. You are able to face the challenges of life without the old behavior. For example, if stress tempts you to eat, you can use healthy coping strategies such as exercise.

Be clear about your motivation; write down your reasons for making the change and remind yourself daily. Get support.