Why New Year Resolutions Fail? - A Psychological Perspective

Updated: Dec 31, 2018

It’s that time of the year again. We are close to turning over the leaf. The next year is going to be better. We are going to fix it all.

But, how many times have we done this before with resolutions. More importantly, how many times have we failed?

So, what should we do?

We can either keep making new year resolutions and failing them. Or we can try to understand why have we been failing and try to fight the cause. Luckily, there is comprehensive research on the topic.

Fun Vs Health

You can find a plethora of research on the topic - a multitude of reasons. But, one makes more sense than the others to us.

Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach did a statistical analysis on the kind of new year resolutions. The study breaks down the results in 3 sections - categories that define all new year resolutions in a comprehensive set.

Health-related resolutions 55.2%, work-related 34.4%, and finally 5.2% social.

Let’s focus on fun vs health - the categories that cover most of the new year’s resolution. Can you guess the conclusions?

(Or, let’s change the question. Which resolution are you more likely to see through? Fun or health related? ….. I thought so too).

Participants in the research believed that new year’s resolutions are about tackling what is important to them. On the contrary, psychological research suggests that long term persistence is only achievable through the addition of excitement.

In other words, humans don’t just do things because they are important. More likely, humans do things because they enjoy them. The factor of want is stronger than the factor of need.

So, Why New Year Resolutions Fail?

Without the element of enjoyment, a new year’s resolution is nothing more than another burden. And, we already have enough things to worry about.

So, the simplest suggestion here is - enjoy that diet, enjoy that workout. How? Think of ways to improve your journey.

For example, start an instagram account and share your journey. Record your progress and motivate yourself to do better.

As simple as that.

And, if you need further help, feel free to get in touch with us. At Turnbull Training, through the philosophy of unstoppabull fitness, we push to make healthy living a daily part of your life. One that you will see through with the addition of excitement and persistence.

We look forward to working with you.

This blog was made possible through the help of our digital marketing partners in Manchester - Marketing Voice.


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