After a complete year of sitting at home, fighting covid 19 and facing a lot of difficulties, we all have high hopes from 2021 and undoubtedly, have millions of resolutions and plan to fulfill in this new year. January, the first and the crucial month of every year because it not only gives people a hope that they can begin their life in a new and productive way but also gives them motivation to stand up, make plans and execute them – to be successful in life.
New year resolutions as per definition is a tradition where people vow to make a positive and a new change in them and resolve to continue these good habits throughout the year. Every year, every individual makes millions of new year resolutions but 80% of the resolutions won’t even survive to see the beginning of February. As per the record, only 8% people around the globe successfully complete their new year resolutions. This brings out the most important question that randomly hit my mind- why do new year resolutions fail?
Answers to this question can be understood by using some of the concepts of behavioral economics that majorly deals with understanding and analyzing the behavior of an individual behind certain decisions. One of the plausible reasons for the failure of resolutions can be the wrong assumptions supporting them. This can be:
- Failure to keep in mind time consistency- that maybe individual’s taste and preference change over time. When we make resolutions, we ignore the fact that the central idea to which resolution is based may not be of utmost importance to us in future.
- Ignoring the Diminishing nature of incentives- incentives play a very important role when it comes to motivation and with time, they may diminish and the person loses the motivation to continue that way. For instance, if my new year resolution is to hit the gym and get the perfect body, my immediate incentive to raise my motivation is to pay the annual subscription. Although this fee will motivate me for a month or so, the value of my incentive will decrease over time since the money was paid a long time back and it does not affect my current financial holding.
- Unrealistic expectations- there’s a big difference between making plans in the head and executing it in real life and the reason most resolutions fail is that we make vague and unrealistic resolutions for ourselves, which we know is nothing compared to reality.
After finding my answer and analyzing the situation, the first thing that came into my mind is to ditch new year’s resolution. Most people right now are maybe considering me a bit irrational and judging me as a lady giving negative advice on the third day of the new year but this is the most rational solution to the problem of the failed resolutions.
Instead of setting goals and plans on the first day of the year, we should decentralize our thoughts and make monthly, weekly or daily plans that we know are realistic and achievable. Let’s not motivate ourselves on the very first day of the year but support ourselves on the first hour of each day. Here’s few things that I will be practicing in 2021 and will surely recommend you to do as well:
- Always take baby steps. Do not make long term goals, instead make short but worthy goals that are realistic, easily achievable and work as a source of motivation. Make monthly, weekly or daily goals.
- Do not burden yourself. It is good to achieve goals but not at a cost of mental health. Even if you fail sometimes, do not forget that there will be another day and another opportunity for you.
- Do not inculcate negative thoughts about anything before it has even happened- that is to always have a positive outlook towards life.(this is the personal suggestion by my parents to me and me to you. 🙂 )
- Enjoy and seize your day. Appreciate whatever you have. Even if all your friends are partying, never forget to appreciate the peace you are experiencing sitting at home, soaking the sun. be grateful.
- Just go with the flow. Even if you’re having a bad day, do not let it affect you. Kar sabr(have patience)
Personally I am ditching my new year resolutions to much more achievable and peace bringing goals. I hope each and every individual will have a peaceful and happy year. Here’s to much more realistic and happy future expectations!!