Traditionally, at the turn of the year, many good resolutions are set for the new year: you want to stop smoking, go to the gym every day, eat healthier, learn more or work more productively, scold your children less or simply become a better person. However, these plans are often created by societal paradigms, which in many cases do not go hand in hand with personal priorities and goals.

Every year anew - New Year's resolutions often have a short lifespan 

All good intentions already exist; You've known them for years and every time you pick the ones that seem most urgent to you from the list of good resolutions. You get started right on January 2nd - after you've been able to recover from the long New Year's Eve the day before. Highly motivated, you go to the nearest gym, where you first work off your energy and then you are proud that you have finally managed to exercise and that the new year will be much healthier. Most of the time this enthusiasm lasts for a few days or maybe even weeks until everyday life catches up with the routines that you have developed for years. In the end, good intentions often fall by the wayside. But why do we fail so often and what solutions are there?

  • Reason #1: Social Norms

    The good intentions are not your own, but have been determined by society. The classic list of good New Year's changes includes many things that sound nice in wishful thinking, but in reality there is no personal connection to them. Do I want to lose weight, be muscular and look beautiful because I see people in the media who represent a social ideal? Or is it actually about goals that I strive for based on personal intentions and priorities? This should actually be reflected in more detail in the first place.
    If social contacts are a top priority for someone and it is important for the person's well-being to always have a beer with colleagues after work or to go to the kebab shop next door at lunchtime, then the chance that this person will stick to a healthy diet in the long term is relatively small will be given high priority. Someone else, on the other hand, puts health as the top or second priority and social contacts come second. In this case, the personal connection is much closer to the goal of a healthy diet.
    The solution here is to first be honest with yourself and determine where your priorities lie and then say goodbye to illusions and social paradigms. In this way, realistic resolutions can be set.

  • Reason #2: The why is missing

    Firmly connected to the first point is the why, which many people are often not aware of when they dedicate themselves to the list of good resolutions. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to stop smoking? Why do you want to achieve or learn more? It also becomes clear quite quickly whether #1's personal values ​​actually correspond to his own priorities. If enough time with friends and free weekends and finishing work on time are important to someone, then it will be difficult to find the why for better performance at work. In many cases, however, you can establish a link to personal goals precisely by asking about motives:
    Let's say the New Year's resolution you chose focuses on eating healthy and exercising more. If you're looking for why, it's not enough to simply say "I want to live a healthier life." Rather, it should be determined what specific benefits arise from the changes. These must necessarily be linked to the values ​​that are most important to you. If family is your top priority, then you can say that you want to grow old with your children, be able to teach them sports, be a role model and remain attractive to your partner. For someone, the why might be to be attractive in order to find a partner in the first place. For someone else, their career is the most important thing. In this case, a healthy lifestyle can be linked to greater performance and concentration at work.

  • Reason #3: There is a lack of concrete long-term and short-term goals

    Good intentions should not be confused with tangible goals. While resolutions can be equated with good deeds, goals are about what you actually want to achieve. The goals must be measurable and realistic. If someone wants to be fitter and healthier, it is not enough to say “I want to feel better in six months” but rather means such as body fat measurements, blood values ​​at the doctor or a sporting goal should make the whole thing reliable, valid and objectively measurable. If someone wants to do more at work, he or she should stick to these criteria here too. With self-employment, this can be measured, for example, in the form of financial profit or new customers.
    In addition, there is the differentiation between short-term and long-term goals. It's best to set the long-term goal first, which initially seems very far away and perhaps a little unrealistic. You could say to yourself “in one year I want to go from 20% to 10% body fat” or “in one year my company will have made twice as much profit as the year before”. Then you can set small sub-goals: “In one month I will have 1% less body fat” or “in one month I will make X amount of profit”.
    It is always important to set precise dates, as this makes the goals even more binding.

  • Reason #4: There is no plan for implementation - the necessary to-dos have not been determined

    People often say they know they have to do something to achieve their goals. Nevertheless, they do not act according to this principle. In many cases this is due to a lack of good planning. “If you're failing to plan you plan to fail”. This quote from Benjamin Franklin explains exactly what happens next; Without planning things optimally, you are almost unconsciously planning to fail.
    A good plan contains the appropriate to-dos for your personal goal. These should also be as specific as possible. If you want to become slimmer and fitter, you can write the following to-do's on your list:
    1. I exercise 3 times a week!
    2. I don't eat sugar anymore!
    3. I eat vegetables three times a day!
    The list can of course go on, but here too it makes sense to set new to-do's step by step for the smaller sub-goals. With too many to-dos you will be overwhelmed and your motivation will quickly disappear. This also means that routines change in the long term, so that over time less discipline is required and many things simply run automatically.

  • Reason #5: Resolutions are only set based on the new year

    The timing is often chosen for the wrong reasons. If the goal or resolution arises for the wrong reasons, as described above, then there is a high chance that it is a short-term thing that will quickly be lost in daily routine. However, if the goal has been on your personal list for a long time, there is nothing wrong with tackling it as a New Year's resolution. Nevertheless, all other points that have already been discussed should be taken into account. Perhaps you have already been thinking about a goal for the last few months and something will change in your life in January anyway, then a new start with good resolutions in the form of concrete goals is definitely recommended. However, a goal can be set and achieved with the necessary to-dos at any time during the year.

Conclusion: Annual resolutions can be better visualized and realized as personal goals
Resolutions for the New Year only make sense if they meet a few criteria: On the one hand, they must be formulated as individually tailored goals that actually correspond to the values ​​that are a high priority for you. These goals should be clearly determined with measurable values. On the other hand, the why must be consciously noted down and recalled again and again so that the necessary to-dos are actually carried out. A good resolution should not be set based on social norms or the turn of the year, but should be carefully thought out over the long term and broken down into small, realistic sub-goals. And lastly: Take action everyday!

Ines Schulz
Ines Maria Schulz, born on December 1st, 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, also completed her Master of Education in Biology and WAH there, laying the foundation for the understanding of physiology and anatomy as well as nutrition. She is also a trained primary school sports teacher. For two years she has been a coach at MTM Personal Training, the most successful personal training studio in Berlin. There she supports customers every day who want to exploit their maximum potential in terms of mental and physical health and performance. In cooperation with doctors like Dr. Dominik Nischwitz and a laboratory for intestinal health as well as the constant exchange within the team, she can provide her customers with optimal advice about training, nutrition, micronutrients and lifestyle. She has already written a breakfast book and a large part of a lifestyle booklet for MTM. She also writes the weekly newsletter, which publishes nutritional tips and recipes she has created. Ines has completed seminars and certificates with a variety of successful coaches and specialists and is constantly expanding her skills. The young trainer has been writing blog articles for Supz Nutrition since January 2019.

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