New Year Resolutions….why we tend to break them!

Even from now, I’m sure you are starting to think about how you want things to be different in 2015. There could be a number of things that you would like to see change in your life. Most of our clients are looking to change to a healthier lifestyle. This could range from a desire to lose weight to wanting to be fitter, giving up those cigarettes or reducing your alcohol intake.

These are all noble ideas and things that would definitely benefit us. But did you know that only 8% of people who make new years resolutions will succeed in reaching them? 52% of those people were sure that  they would be successful in keeping those promises to themselves (Wikipedia).

So why is it…despite our best intentions…that we fail at reaching those resolutions?

First of all there is scientific proof that the willpower to stick to those resolutions can be compromised. The prefrontal cortex where willpower is exercised is also the area that is responsible for staying focused, handling short term memory and solving abstract tasks. The willpower needed to maintain that resolution is enormous and to put it frankly, the brain can be overloaded with other needs in that part of the brain. In other words, willpower needs to be exercised and used regularly, like a muscle, and requires training. This also explains why change in habits takes a long time to happen. But the more we do a different thing, the more likely we are to achieve our goal.

So what part can we play to reinforce the positive?


  • Work out your vision. What is it specifically that you want to become? What would a change in your life enable you to do? Make it exciting and desirable. This makes it easier to aim for
  • Look at what’s been getting in the way. What has stopped you before from reaching your desired change?
  • Look at strategies to help achieve your goals. Hey…don’t buy that chocolate bar so you can be tempted to eat it!
  • Set realistic and attainable goals. A big problem with resolutions is that we go all out and set goals that we know we can’t reach in a time frame that makes it impossible. Then we give up because we are discouraged. Small goals are the key…..slowly slowly wins the race!
  • … get the support you need. Share all your dreams and aspirations with a good friend, partner, spouse….anyone who you know will support you. Try visual support, eg: set up a vision board, have a picture on the fridge of you at a weight you used to be and want to be again. After you’ve lost those few kilos, walk around with weights that represent that and see how uncomfortable you are. You won’t want to go back there!
  • Make yourself accountable. This can be to anyone, including yourself. I know a coach who would love to share the journey with you!

Happy New Year everyone!