New year new me? Why new year's resolutions often fail...
January • 28th, 2020
by Ulrike Homuth
How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions?
Today I’m writing you to ask you how are you doing with your New Year's resolutions? Have you already implemented them or are you still struggling? Or has life come into your way and you decided to deal with it later in the year, as there are still 11 months to go?
I hate to take away illusions, but studies have shown that 80% of all New Year's resolutions fail. To be honest, this is not surprising to me! Why should our habits, with which we have been comfortable with for many years, suddenly change from one day to another, just because the number of the year has changed on paper?
After all, our habits have not only made life easier for us, but have also ensured our survival in general for a long period of time. Our brains, which have not changed much since ancient times, are trimmed for survival and still recognize change as a potential danger. Imagine a Caveman breaking his routine and taking an unknown path to the water source – he might have ended up as lunch for a wild animal! Sticking to habits was an important survival mechanism!
The problem is, that on cellular level we hardly differ from our ancestors. That means that change still creates a stress response in our nervous system, no matter if we’ve consciously decided to try something new or if we are in real danger. Stress activates the fear center in our brain (amygdala) and slows down the problem-solving and learning center (hippocampus). Stress signals "danger" to our body and triggers a cascade of biochemical reactions that not only lead to numerous ailments and diseases, but also make us fat in the long term! Extreme Diets for example also create a stress response, because our brain cannot make a difference between the conscious decision to eat less and an actual food shortage.
This is why, amongst other biochemical reactions, changes usually don't feel good at first, even when we know that they would be good for us in the long term. No wonder that we like to fall back into old, familiar behavior patterns where we feel safe.
But life means change, and to stay alive we have to permanently change. To make it easier for you to implement your New Year’s resolutions here are some tips:
- Make sure you get enough sleep! During sleep your brain can regenerate. That’s why after a good night’s sleep you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll make better decisions overall! Start with about 30 minutes more sleep per night and slowly increase the time until you get about 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Be nice to yourself! If you didn't succeed in your resolution today, accept the situation. Tell yourself, ok, that wasn't what I had in mind, but I'm still a wonderful person and I'll do better tomorrow. Most people, especially women, tend to put themselves down if they haven't achieved their goal right away. This leads to even more stress in the system and creates problems in health, fat burning and social tolerance.
- Avoid multitasking! Our nervous system, which controls all body cells, all hormone and organ systems and every aspect of metabolism and fat burning, is simply overwhelmed with the speed of our lifestyle today. Plan your time carefully, set priorities and delegate things that others can do. That way you’ll stay focused on your big goals and get less distracted by all the other urgent things that have to be done in your daily life!
- Tell as many people as possible about your resolutions! Other people can hold you accountable whenever it gets tough and your brain tells you that your life is in danger☺ With the support of others you’re less tempted to reject your plans.
- Celebrate small successes! Every little step is a start and should be appreciated. Make yourself aware of what you have already achieved. This motivates you to stay tuned, rather than just looking at what there’s still in front of you.
- Chose Evolution rather than Revolution! Set achievable goals and work slowly and consistently in small steps on their implementation, instead of wanting to overturn everything overnight. Find a coach or ally who can support you without judgment.
If you are more the Evolution type of person and want to take small, easy-to-implement steps towards your goal I would be more than happy to guide and assist you as your coach. For more information please see my website www.ulrikehomuth.com or send me an email to email@example.com to make an appointment for a short free initial phone consultation.
I wish you best of success and an adequate portion of serenity!
Your coach Ulrike
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