Have you stuck with your 2015 New Year's resolution to this point in the year? If you haven't, then you might just be in luck. It's almost that time of the year again. We'll soon be gathered around the TV with our friends and family. The ball is about to drop and Ryan Seacrest is in the middle of the countdown.
21... 20... 19...
You turn to your loved ones and announce that this is the year you're finally going to accomplish a huge goal you've had for a while. Maybe you want to start exercising, or make strides to leave your current job. They all tell you how proud they are of you.
3... 2... 1...
The ball drops and the TV cuts to couples kissing in the streets of New York. You start to celebrate with your loved ones. Now you have a plan to better yourself in the new year.
Except it doesn't happen. After a little while, you ditch your resolution and go back to the same old routine. And you aren't alone. 25% of people who make New Year's resolutions give up after a week.
Here are three reasons why you shouldn't waste your time on a New Year's resolution.
Your Resolution Is Too Big
New Year's resolutions are usually long-term goals that are difficult to achieve. You might want to lose 50 pounds, get a better job, or completely change your lifestyle.
These are great long-term goals, and everyone should have something they want to accomplish over time. However, these aren't great permanent resolutions. You will quickly become overwhelmed and realize that your resolution isn't attainable in the immediate future.
Don't make these long-term goals your New Year's resolution. You're doomed once you put a yearlong time stamp on it. More appropriate resolutions would be to "start reading more" or to "eat a fruit once a day." Unfortunately, these smaller resolutions don't fit into our societal tendency of making huge goals for the new year.
You Aren't Motivated
Most people make New Year's resolutions because it's the popular thing to do, or because they want social acceptance from others. This is why they post their resolution on Facebook or go to a busy gym with other people who made resolutions.
This might give people the initial push to start their resolution. It's difficult to convince yourself to start a goal, and it's great that people use this to get out of bed and go to the gym. But you don't want to use social acceptance as the base of your goal, because you'll stop doing it once the judgmental eyes of your peers turn away from you.
Goals are about improving yourself. This should be something that comes from intrinsic motivation that you want to do for yourself. If the motivation comes from yourself, then you will stick with your goal because you don't need anyone else to notice. You will notice, and that's all that matters.
Finally, know this: it's really hard to maintain a steady level of self-control.
Decision fatigue is a phenomenon that correlates with ego depletion. It basically means that you start to lose your motivation in a decision as time goes on. This happens because your mental energy is finite and can't sustain the same motivation you had when you first made a decision. You start to question your decision and try to find ways around it.
This causes most people to give up on their New Year's resolution. They only make the decision because of the time of year, and they aren't truly motivated. Decision fatigue kicks in, and before you know it, you decide to cancel your gym membership.
Make Goals When the Time Is Right
You should absolutely strive to better yourself by accomplishing goals. However, you shouldn't force your goals when the time isn't right. New Year's might feel like a great time to take a stand, but you're better served waiting until you're more fully committed -- mentally, physically, and spiritually.
This post originally appeared on my personal blog, Productivity Theory.