Why It's Hard to Keep New Year's Resolutions

Premier Health Now

If you’re like most Americans, you’re about ready to bail on your New Year’s resolution. Premier Health Now talked with neuropsychologist Fadi Tayim, PhD, Premier Health Clinical Neuroscience Institute, to find out why it’s so difficult to keep resolutions, and what you can do differently to successfully reach your goal.

Resolutions fail because we don’t do our homework ahead of time, Dr. Tayim says. “We want to make changes instantly, and we want to see results shortly thereafter.” But to be successful it takes planning. “Think of it as a big project you might get assigned by your boss or a teacher,” Dr. Tayim recommends. Make time to research, then prepare a step-by-step plan, he says.

If you resolve to lose weight, for instance, consider these steps ahead of time:

  1. Meet with a nutritionist. 
  2. Examine your current eating habits and the reasons why you choose sweets, for example, instead of making a healthier choice. 
  3. Identify small changes you can make right away.
  4. Once those new habits are no longer challenging, plan to incorporate one or two more.
  5. Decide what foods you will no longer buy, and new recipes that fit your revised eating plan.
  6. Determine a reasonable amount of weight you’ll aim to lose each week. 

“With a realistic plan in place, you’re ready to begin!” Dr. Tayim says. 

 Similarly, if you resolve to save $5,000, do your research, Dr. Tayim recommends. Examine your spending habits to determine what you can realistically live without. How will you alter your routine to avoid the temptation to buy? Is payroll deduction an option? 

“If you don’t do your homework first, and if you don’t break your resolution into achievable parts, you’re not setting yourself up to be successful.” And if you want to begin your new habits on New Year’s Day, you need to begin the planning long before January 1, he adds.

Have you already given up on your 2017 resolution? Consider adopting Dr. Tayim’s attitude: “You can resolve to make changes at any time of the year. Just do your homework ahead of time,” he suggests.