Why didn't my New Year's Resolution last?

"You may know them under their more usual name of New Year Resolutions (the capitals show how important they are!); you may also be familiar with the realisation, by the end of January, that you have either forgotten what you had resolved because the list was too long and you've mislaid the paper it was jotted on, or that those you do remember were simply unmanageable!" - Alicia Brent


Things were going so well... you made it through the first week of the year... perhaps even the second... but then you slipped up on one day... and then another... and now you just feel as though there is no point at all.


WHY IS IT THAT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS RARELY STICK? Here are some of the reasons why most new year's resolutions are destined to fail:


1. You are trying to change too much at once

One of the best ways to achieve any sort of behaviour change is to gradually and gently introduce one new behaviour at a time until it becomes a habit. If however, you try to completely overhaul something like your diet, lifestyle or exercise regime overnight - you may stick with this for a while, but it may be tricky to keep this up long-term. The reason for this is that we can experience a lot of resistance to drastic change. We are creatures of habit and we love our routines. You may notice that you just naturally eat the same things on rotation or that you just naturally fall back into the same patterns in other areas of your life. As creatures of habit, we do not like going through a lot of change in one go. This is why gradual change tends to be much more effective at building sustainable habits. So New Year's Resolutions often fail because they are too big of a change. Often just aiming to change one small thing is likely to be much more effective, and stick for the long-haul.


2. You got stuck in all-or-nothing thinking

Another reason that New Year's Resolutions fail is because they are too rigid. Let's say that you want to improve your diet, you may have decided to completely stop eating sugar or ultra-processed food. Then you go to your friend's house and she offers you some cake that she has just made - you have a piece - and you feel that you have "ruined it" now, so you might as well give up. This is an example of all-or-nothing thinking. Your goals/rules are very strict and rigid and so when you break the goal/rule, you