New Year’s Resolutions | Why Are Some People Able To Stick To Them When Others Can’t?

A Very Happy, Healthy And Prosperous To You All!!!

It’s that time of year again when you reflect; review; re-evaluate; and set new goals. You might want to get fitter; lose weight; travel more; find a new job; or even dedicate the year to finding the love of your life. Irrespective of what goal you set, the key is to stick to it, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Most studies show new year resolutions begin to drop off after just a week, and only about 40% of people actually stick to their goals. So why can some people stick to them and others can’t?

The Answer: Black and White Thinking.

Let me put this into context for you. Say for example your goal for 2016 is “Healthy Eating” which you have decided you will achieve by cutting out carbs after 5pm. A situation arises where you are out with your friends and end up at a restaurant where there isn’t much choice on the menu, limiting your options to pasta. You don’t want to make a big deal about the fact that there isn’t anything “healthy” you can eat on the menu. To avoid drawing attention to yourself and creating a scene you decide to just opt for pasta (full of carbs!) AND SO THE CYCLE BEGINS!

The Thoughts Begin To Creep In…

  • “I’ve blown it now.”
  • “That’s terrible.”
  • “I shouldn’t have come out.”
  • “I should have said I was busy and not come out to dinner.”
  • “I should have ordered a salad.”
  • “I’ve ruined my diet.”
  • “I can’t do anything right.”
  • “I may as well carry on eating for the rest of the night now.”
    You may feel a mixture of happiness, annoyance, irritation, frustration, anger, regret, low mood or self hate etc.

This Will Affect The Way You Behave For The Rest Of The Evening Or Days To Come. You May Therefore:

  • Eat more.
  • Eat less for the next few days.
  • Not go out socialising again.
  • Have negative and critical thoughts towards yourself.

Over-indulge in food, thinking you will start afresh on Monday.
Black and White thinking labels certain behaviours as being acceptable and others as unacceptable. It is this structured and rigid thinking process that often creates a yo-yo effect in behaviour, making it harder to achieve what you want. If you are finding it difficult to achieve your goals, or you can’t see yourself any closer to your goals, then that is where you lose focus and ultimately lose the drive to pursue your goals.

If you could change this “Black and White” thinking then your reaction to the restaurant situation that I have outlined above would have been completely different. You would be able to accept that your choices are limited; not be so hard on yourself; eat the pasta; enjoy your meal with your friends without the guilt; and then continue with your healthy eating plan the next day.

Acceptance is the key to breaking this rigid Black and White thinking process!