Wednesday, December 13

Resolving to Have Less Resolutions

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I resolve to lose weight

I resolve to have financial independence

I resolve to be a nicer person

I resolve to read more books

I resolve to volunteer or donate to charity

I resolve to be more educated

I resolve to be more confident

I resolve to make the perfect batch of pickles

I resolve to experience more

I resolve to develop a savings account

Sound familiar? That season is coming, after all. You know, the time where resolutions for change are carted out for all to see. Gyms make a killing in yearly memberships in January. By March, most of these resolutions have gone by the wayside and we’re looking at lard fried lard by Easter.

There are constantly items on the list, so resolutions have the tendency to come in packs. It’s not ‘All I want for next year is my two front teeth’ … no, we want it all. The eagerness is astounding, but we fail because we lack the focus on any single task. There is some effort thrown at all of the resolutions though it’s usually not enough to make a true difference. We are highly capable, but an individual can get quite involved in trying to satisfy just one of the parameters.

The brain has difficulty focusing simultaneously on too many goals. When presented with multiple unrelated tasks, it will do its best to process, but it won’t be as effective. Essentially, the brain is a serial monogamist. It makes relationships one at a time, explores them to the fullest potential, and goes to the next relationship.

Even if the above resolutions were appropriately phrased, having so many of them is a formula for failure. This is not to say that the goals cannot be accomplished, this is merely the mention that each separate goal adds an exponential degree to the overall task of completing the resolutions. Make it easy on yourself by fleshing out three goals and sticking to them.

Take a piecemeal approach. Develop good habits with a goal, then continue the habit by adding more to it at a later date. If you’re interested in losing weight, try your meal substitutions once or twice a week and gradually slide into the good habits. Your body dislikes change, and will actively protest against it. If you take the gradual, singular approach, you will have more resolutions in the ‘win’ column.

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