At the start of each year, many of us make new year resolutions, and many of us fail to keep them. So why is change so hard?
A new year, a new start… how many times have we said that over the years?
Understanding why why change is so hard
We are creatures of habit and can be very comfortable living in a world of routine behaviour. Take this example; you set a goal to eat healthily, so you want to cut back on takeaway meals. You’re determined to make it happen, but the next day you get home late from work, and you’re hungry and tired, so you go back to your habit of ordering takeaway. It’s easy to do and comfortable.
The goal we set is too vague, which makes it difficult to measure our progress and keep motivated. For example, instead of saying ‘I want to lose weight’, you should make it specific, ‘I will lose 8kg by the end of April.’
You want to change too many things all in one go. For change to happen, we rely on our resources of attention, self-control and motivation. If we try to change too much, we place unrealistic demands on these resources. We also often forget that while trying to change, other areas of our life still need attention and they also require the same resources.
Emotions and environment
We may be so scared of failing to make a change and ‘losing face’ that we may not even try to give it a go.
Giving up too quickly
Failure and relapse is part of the change process. Change occurs over time, and we often move back and forth. Try to see your initial failure as a step in the process, not an excuse to give up trying.
Change is hard but remember that any effort you make is worthwhile, no matter how small or large. Reward yourself along the way and keep going!
If you need someone to talk to, MensLine Australia professional counsellors are here to provide information and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.