Here we are, at the end of December, the time when everyone start thinking about new resolutions for the upcoming year: working out, eating healthy, learning a new language, reading a book per month… resolutions that 90% of people can’t hold on to more than two weeks. Even if it became a new trend, we find it hard, almost impossible, to commit to our New Years’s resolutions for the whole year.

Taking resolutions at the end/beginning of the year is wrong!

It’s a useless pressure that you put on yourself for no reason, at your less motivated time. Instead of celebrating the New Year with your family or friends, you distract your brain with resolutions you should start in 6h45min7s. it’s like setting an alarm clock that you keep snoozing.

  • Winter is the period of the year when you are the most depressed and lest motivated:

You may already know this: winter is the season when you get depressed, due to short days, less exposure to sunlight and cold weather. This is known as the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that usually occurs in the fall/winter seasons. The SAD is actually a conflicting subject since some studies ensure its existence while others reveal the contrary. But, it’s evident that in winter, you will probably lay down in your couch in front of the TV rather than go for a run. So, taking that into consideration, it’s kind of dumb pushing yourself to add new habits to your life in winter time, including December and January. Instead, try to maintain your routine and old (good) habits that you may loose with the Seasonal Affective Disorder we get in that period of the year.

  • The more you take resolutions the more you procrastinate:

What we all do usually, is writing down a list of 10 resolutions that must be started January 1st. But we never do any of it! We postpone the starting day every time, until the next December when we rewrite the list again. What’s wrong is introducing too many changes to our life in one take, which is overwhelming, leading to procrastination. And the day we will have the courage to fulfill our 10 habits’ list will never come.

  • You can’t change more than one aspect of your simultaneously: take a resolution at a time

The previous point lead us to the conclusion that you can’t change radically in one take. Various studies showed that it takes a lot of time to build a habit. For example, Doctor Maxwell Maltz, through his observations, noticed and concluded that it takes a minimum of 21 days to get used to something new in your life, like resolutions. Other more recent studies, like the one published by researcher Phillippa Lally in 2009, shows that it may take more than two months.

So, instead of taking 10 resolutions at the beginning of the year, take only one. And keep adding resolutions later only if the previous one became a habit in your life. That way, you will be able to transform your resolutions into habits and stick to them. This may be a long term process, but it will enables you build lasting changes.

  • A resolution can’t be effective unless there is a motivation and purpose behind it:

When you take a resolution, you should believe strongly enough on it to stick to. You can’t just say that you will start working out next year, without being motivated to do so. You should make the decision of starting to workout weekly only if you are really motivated enough to be dedicated to the schedule, through strong reasons like the need to become healthy. So, instead of taking resolutions in December, take them the moment you are motivated to start doing them for real.

  • Be prepared:

You can’t make resolutions without being prepared to carry them out! That means you are already killing your project without even starting it. For each resolution you make, you need to be prepared. If your resolution needs tools or materials, go buy it first. If it needs a schedule, make one. If it needs a budget, check if you do have it. You can’t decide to start learning Spanish with no clue on how to do it: You either need to choose an app, buy some books or enroll on a language class. If you work on a plan on how to pull off your resolution, you increase your chances of committing to it.

All that being said, it’s obvious that those last days of the year aren’t the optimal moment to make resolutions.

What you really can do instead, is to have an overview of your year: what you achieved, what changed in you, what you would like to keep for the upcoming year and what you need to get rid of.

Or, just relax, be happy and welcome the New Year with a large smile and a lot of dark chocolate!