People mean well when they resolve to work on weight loss, exercise regimens, quit smoking, and pay down debts. But Psychology Today offers one reason why New Year's resolutions usually fail—we're not really ready to change.
Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, says that resolutions are a form of "cultural procrastination," an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, he says. Pychyl argues that people aren't ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate.
There are, however, simple things you can do to make your resolve into reality—like being realistic about your resolutions. You're much more likely to achieve smaller, more manageable goals (meet a friend at the gym twice a week) then drastic life makeovers (quit smoking and run six miles a day). And you have to be willing to do the work to create real change. Erik Larson at Forbes expressed it thusly:
Resolutions are fun. For a few days we get to live in a fantasy world where, with almost no effort, we’re thin, healthy, happy, friendly, loving and well-rested. And yet here’s the painful truth: Resolutions require almost no work upfront, but they require incredible willpower to achieve.
Unsurprisingly, there is a Ted Talk on New Year's resolutions, why we don't keep them, and how you can succeed with them.
It's hard to argue with Andrew W.K. on this one.
PARTY TIP: You don't need any New Year's resolutions. Just be happy you're alive and have as much fun as you can, every single day.