Are new year resolutions bad for you? I think so.

In fact, not only do I think that New Year resolutions do more harm than good, the only resolution I think you should make is to stop making resolutions at all!

In order to have your best (and healthiest) 2016, consider ditching resolutions altogether in favor of something that actually works!

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The statistics prove it – New Year resolutions don’t work!

The change of the calendar and a spirit of renewal and starting over fills the air throughout January. This spirit makes the idea of setting goals, and refreshing your own life incredibly appealing. Plus, EVERYONE is making resolutions, so why not do it too, right?

Wrong – The sad truth is that study over study prove that new year resolutions not only fail, but may, in fact, do more harm than good, particularly when they have to do with weight loss and healthy living.

Why? Well, the simple fact is that gradual change and intrinsic motivation is the best way to achieve lasting lifestyle results and that tactics such as setting goals are actually counterproductive.

Resolutions, by definition are none of these. They are goals, external motivators and often include radical change.

And statistics support this conclusion. Indeed, despite the fact that nearly 50% of people make these declarations every January, according research conducted at the University of Scranton, only 8% of those people ever report real, lasting change.

Even more disturbing is the fact that 25% of those who have made so-called resolutions have abandoned them only one week into the month of January.

Setting goals (or making resolutions) is counterproductive

My research and experience losing weight and as a weight loss and lifestyle coach has revealed a heap of truths about the way that human beings think and what works and doesn’t work in terms of motivation for change.

Part of the reason that so many people fail at keeping new year resolutions is linked to these truths, most specifically the counterproductivity of goal-setting.

new year resolutions bad for you_2The first, and most obvious reason to avoid goal-setting when it comes to weight loss, getting fit, or any other number of common new year resolutions is because goals create pressure.

When you are trying to change and make that change permanent, the pressure of so-called SMART goals (i.e. Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) can be so debilitating that you just give up altogether.

Change is pressure enough – more pressure just doesn’t make sense

The other reason that goals don’t work is because, in contrast to the pressure they create, they are also quite limiting.

I know this from personal experience:

When I began my own journey to weight loss and health back in 2002/3 I only had one goal, “get a life”. Pretty vague, right? The reason I only set this one goal was because I wasn’t sure what I needed to do – or how to do it – in order to achieve what I really wanted.

However, by accidentally stumbling upon this truth of human nature, I actually increased my success and my ability to sustain it

You see, as I progressed on my journey, my success was ten-fold higher than I ever in my wildest dreams thought it could be. All told, I lost 45kg in 33 weeks. It was remarkable!

If I had set the “goal” to lose 20kg in a year, would I ever have achieved that statistic? Probably not since I would have been “happy” and “accomplished” less than halfway through what I was capable of achieving.

So, are New Year resolutions bad for you?

Now, I work in weight loss and December/January is what we call the “high season”. I have more website enquiries and signups in this period than any other throughout the year thanks, in part, to new year resolutions.

Yet I still hate them and still advocate against making them in the first place.

The reason for this is simple: when it comes to motivation to change, specifically when losing weight, the only way to truly embrace it is because you want to. Not because of what the calendar says.

Change for the right reasons

Furthermore, forcing yourself to enact change due to some arbitrary thing (like the calendar date) is only going to de-motivate you since you aren’t doing it for the right reasons.

That’s the number one reason why new year resolutions are bad for you. Because they are an external motivator and true changes only come from within.

If you want to really make a change, then the date doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is you. So…are you ready?

Connect with Expert Sally Symonds.

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