Why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work with Empower Counseling.

Approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Yet year after year people continue to begin each year with such resolutions. Why do these New Year’s resolutions typically fail?

Here are three reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail:

#1 Unrealistic Expectations is one reason why New Year’s Resolutions Fail.

Picture this…you have not exercised regularly for the last 6 months. You have been too busy. You have put you and your health too far down the list. Exercising has not been a top priority for you. Now you are out of shape, compared to where you were in the past. The new year is fast approaching. So you decide your New Year’s Resolution is to exercise for an hour a day at least 5 days a week.

On January 1st you are at the gym bright and early. You exercise for 1 hour. You feel great! The next day you are back at the gym. You do it again. You exercise for 1 hour even though you don’t feel as great as you did the day before. You wake up on day 3 very sore from the your efforts over the last two days but you grit it out and go to the gym. By week two you are exhausted and sore but you have so much will power, that you grind on. By week three your will power is exhausted along with your body, and you only make it to the gym 3 days. Because you expected yourself to make it 5 days, you are critical of yourself and feel like a failure. This negative reinforcement contributes to you not making it to the gym the next day. Now you are really off track and think you are back to square one. You think you have completely failed and once again proven to yourself you are a quitter. Now you stop going to the gym at all and another New Year’s Resolution has fallen to the wayside, unaccomplished.

The problem with this New Year’s Resolution is that the bar is set too high which sets you up to fail. It is unreasonable to expect yourself to go from no exercise to 1 hour of exercise 5 days a week. You can set a lofty goal of exercising 5 days a week for an hour each, but you must create a reasonable plan to reach that goal. A reasonable plan might entail beginning the year with exercise 3 times a week for 20-30 min each. We don’t expect ourselves to go from simple adding or subtracting to understanding Calculus. We shouldn’t expect to go from no exercise to the amount that a person in very good shape could perform. Unrealistic expectations is one reason New Year’s Resolutions don’t work.

#2 Will Power is not sustainable is another reason with New Year’s Resolutions Fail.

There is a great misconception that many buy into. Most people think “I could do _____________ (Insert any difficult task or goal here) if I just had more will power.” Not true. Will power is a temporary motivator. That is why diets work in the short term but not in the long term. New Year’s Resolutions are made when our motivation is at the highest possible level. But we can not sustain that level when we need it the most…when we are actually taking action toward a new goal. Will power fades, and therefore, New Year’s Resolutions fail.

#3 You are not in touch with your “WHY”.

If will power fades and can not sustain lasting change, then what will? Lasting change, happens when our “WHY” is driving the change. For instance, there are certainly days when I do not feel like exercising but I exercise anyway. How can I exercise on days when my brain is telling me “I don’t have the energy to exercise. I don’t feel like it today.”? When I have these thoughts, I remember why I exercise. My “WHY” for exercising is travel and potential grandchildren. It is important to me to be able to be active enough to travel to distant lands and to be able to run around and play with my grandchildren, should I be fortunate enough to have them. I don’t want to sit and watch them play. I want to play, swim, and run with them. When I think about my “WHY”, it becomes easier to go exercise on days on which I do not feel like it.

Now you know 3 reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work. If you need help changing your life for the better…creating new healthy habits…letting go of old unhealthy habits, we are here to help.

The trained, compassionate counselors at Empower Counseling can help uncover your internal obstacles, the reasons why change has been hard for you, and get you taking action in the direction you want to go. Our female and male counselors are trained in Acceptance Commitment Therapy and serve teens, college students, young adults and professionals. Specializing in Anxiety Counseling and Depression Counseling, Empower Counseling is convenient to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia, Hoover, and other surrounding Birmingham areas. As a college student at Samford, Birmingham-Southern, Auburn University or the University of Alabama, you can enjoy online counseling from the privacy of your dorm or apartment.

Call Empower Today 205-730-6570

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