Why You Should Fulfill Your Resolutions BEFORE the New Year
- By: Jordyn Cormier
The start of the new year is generally a time of optimism: This is your year. You‘re going to lose that 10 pounds. You‘re going to read 30 books. You‘re going to start waking up and going for a run every single morning, rain or shine.
But here’s the deal—millions of us commit to adopting new, better habits on January first. Millions of people, all striving to make massive self-improvements all at the same time. There is this sense of urgency, having come off a fun whirlwind of holiday festivities, to get back on track. Yet, a mere month later, 80 percent of us are unsuccessfully back at the drawing board. Failure.
Here’s the issue. Setting a New Year’s resolution puts too much pressure on the resolution-maker. Trying to make a major shift in your life cold turkey is ineffective. Lump that in with the social acceptability of failure (since the vast majority of us always fail to keep our resolutions), and you’re almost destined to achieve mediocrity. Everyone fails. Why bother?
That’s why you should start working towards your New Year’s resolutions NOW.
Use the month of December to gradually increase the amount of vegetables on your plate, work up to an intense workout schedule or take those painting classes. Improve your life now, and you’ll start 2019 by actually accomplishing something, not by focusing on “fixing” the areas where you feel like you’re lacking. Think about it. No pressure. No pomp and circumstance. By January 1st, you’ll be sitting pretty, feeling great about the progress you made, no stress. What a great way to start a year!
Also, be realistic with your expectations. Have you heard that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit? Well that’s only kind of true.
According to the original research conducted by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in the 1950s, it actually takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit or become adjusted to a new version of reality. Yes, minimum. The truth is, there is no magic number. If you’re still struggling with your new habit or goal after three weeks, don’t give in. Some habits just take longer to set in.
Be patient with yourself, start small, and start now. Think of all the progress you will have made by the time the February blues set in and throw everyone else into a resolution tailspin. The small shifts that you started in December will be strong, full-fledged habits by then—February be damned! Don’t put your goals off until January. It really pays to get a head start on your dreams.
Essentially, the key to a successful New Year’s resolution lies in not treating it like one. We should always be working to improve ourselves, and taking conscious small steps in December—before the hyped up New Year’s rush—can make a world of difference in how you feel about yourself and your potential for progress when 2019 hits.