Why do our resolutions fail and what does it say about us? Maybe we aren't taking time to reflect and make achievable resolutions based on experiences, and the resulting failure often leaves us feeling like losers. But by making experience-based resolutio
Why is it that by Valentine’s Day, fifty per cent of us have bowed out of our New Year's resolutions, and by Easter, eighty-five per cent have given up? Well ladies, let's just say that procrastination and unrealistic choices have been running amok.
Too often we don't take the time to reflect on where we have been and where we would like to go. Our dreams are not based in truth because we have lost hold of who we are. We fail because we don't understand the difference between a wish and a workable actionable goal. We fail because we set ourselves up to fail.
Saying things like “I really want to lose some weight” is NOT a goal—it's a wish.
How about: “I will lose 20lbs by June, losing 1lb a week, eating nutritionally healthy food and sticking to a work-out programme of 45 minutes for 5 or 6 days a week.” That's a measurable and actionable goal with clear, specific, achievable results. By reflecting on our experiences, we can say goodbye to old habits that don't work and embrace new, exciting possibilities.
And what exactly is an experienced-based resolution? Well, it is not motivated by the ‘I should do this' attitude that conjures up unpleasant, guilt-ridden, doomed-to-failure feelings. Experience-based resolutions tap into the joyful experiences of success that help you to stick to a resolution.
Experienced-based resolutions are centred on you. You make them meaningful by linking them with your passions, like dancing, playing tennis, even cooking. For instance, you could use delayed gratification as the basis for new habit forming, watching a movie as a reward for finishing your promised exercise. Consider it a tiny, congratulatory gift.
In the past, many of my resolutions didn't work because they weren't based in joyful experiences personal to me. Much of the time our resolutions are wrapped in societal imagery, cultural expectations, insecurities and low self-esteem. I believe these contribute to the high rate of resolution failure, because we are more often motivated by fear, lack of personal autonomy and limited awareness of self.
In the media, resolutions are sold to us with the promise of a better, healthier, happier, more balanced life; they rarely address the authentic you that lies within. We need to give up on unrealistic, prepackaged solutions to problems accumulated over time—there isn’t a quick fix for 40lbs of excess weight or a huge credit card debt or instant stress relief. We also need to be aware that we are driven by the guilt and embarrassment being rammed home by multi-media images of the perfect body.
If you want to achieve success by meeting your goals— not by obsessing about material things like gadgets, sleek cars and dream houses—it's time to try experience-based resolutions. While there is no denying that we get joy from ‘things,' just like junk food, the satisfaction doesn't last.
Our wellbeing is to be found in the experiences we create and I wish we were all taught this at school. An experience can uncover your passions, which ultimately helps carve your life, keeping the authentic you alive and healthy. Experiencebased resolutions are investments in your wellbeing—they can transform you and your life.