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Reflections of a Day Well Spent

Why Are Resolutions So Hard To Stick To?

Why Are Resolutions So Hard to Stick To??


Do you ever enter the New Year with a list of resolutions that only serve to make you feel like a failure? I have stopped making resolutions because I have enough ways to criticize myself without adding more disappointments.

However, after spending some time figuring out why we very rarely make it past January with our proclamations, and that is being generous, I think I understand why.

Did you vow to eat better, start working out, keep your house neater, be nicer, accomplish more at work, stop abusing your credit cards, etc.?

I am pretty sure we can all find something on that list that resonates. So why don't we commit?

I know for myself, that if my legs are not broken, I am going to work out every day. This is not a resolution I make. I do not wake up in the morning and skip down to the basement where my gym is and think of the fun I am going to have getting my heartrate up to 150 for an hour. In fact, this is the best time for me to start cleaning, paying bills, chopping vegetables for the evening's meal, pretty much anything to stall the inevitable.

Regardless of how late I get started there is never a question that I will get it done. Why am I so committed? The payoff in my mind has a worse consequence than if I don't follow though. I have always had some sort of body dysmorphia, and concerns about being heavy. I was a chubby kid and socially that was challenging. Therefore, I will never allow myself to go back there. Hence, working out is a given. I could say the same for other things that we do that have worse results if not completed. Think about it.

Flossing and brushing your teeth, not fun but better than getting a cavity. Getting to work on time and being productive, better than ending up unemployed. It is pretty clear that when you dissect your resolutions you may not think the result of not following through is that bad. This is why we allow ourselves to renege.


If you are not feeling sickly you may decide you don't really want to give up cheese, because it tastes so good. Does that mean your arteries are not clogging? If you are too tired to clean your house and rationalize you are not having company any time soon, does that prevent you from cleaning up? What happens there, is that the piles get bigger, and it gets harder to make progress, to the point that you feel defeated before you begin.

Do you go into target for one thing and leave with a cart filled with things you "need" and then put them on your credit card because you don't have enough cash, but figure they are necessities?

No judgement, I can NEVER, resist a sale on Bounty paper towels, a result of some demented comment from my childhood, so I get it, but when we rationalize our actions this is the result, we fail to follow through.

Here is my conclusion. Things are never black or white. Perhaps instead of never using your credit card you make a concerted effort to reduce the amount you allow yourself to charge. If you never exercise perhaps instead of coming out of the gate with 7 days a week, you start with 2? If you never put thought into what you put in your mouth, maybe you try to make better choices Monday through Friday and give yourself a reprieve on the weekends. The rules and resolutions you make are your own. Therefore, if we could ease up on the judgement, we would do better at keeping them. I wanted to commit to writing daily so that I did not lose my mojo. Some days I just don't feel it, but others I wake up with something on my mind that has to get on paper. I am going to try to get those thoughts on paper without the pressure of doing it daily.

I do have some things that I hope to accomplish in 2020, but I am keeping them to myself, and will do the best I can to get things checked off my list.

My advice is to think about what you proposed, what the payoff is, and what the consequence is. Don't start with 10 things, take one at a time, and after you complete praise yourself for getting it done.

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