Wonder why you never seem to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions? Stop rolling over your goals year to year and find out how to make them happen!

The all-too common time to create health resolutions is post-Christmas – when overeating from all angles has set in with a vengeance. With that emotional guilt, New Year actually becomes the worst time of the year to create resolutions, so psychologists and weight loss experts Kate Swann and Kristina Mamrot are urging Aussies to stop making them.

According to Swann, New Year’s Resolutions cause more angst since it is simply a more challenging time to stick to promises for the year.

“Despite the positive intention related to resolutions, if the person is not fully committed to attaining the goal, the resolution becomes awkward and often a forgotten memory by the end of January, with the questionable habit being resumed with vigor.”

Swann notes that some common resolutions that are often attempted include:

I’m going to lose weight.

“You may have put a little weight on over the festive season and there is now that prospect to lose a significant amount of weight, unrealistically in a quick and easy fashion. The premise to begin a diet in January will most likely fail if the person is not emotionally ready to make that long term commitment.

“A lettuce and lemon water diet for 48 hours and relapsing into the last of the festive leftovers does not equate to resolution success.”

I am going to get fit.

“Gyms do very well in January and many people who have joined have dropped off by February,” Swann says. “What started out as a five-day-a-week ritual has peppered into a once-a-fortnight “visit”.”

I am going to stop smoking.

“People are certainly to be commended when they decide to give up smoking. However, in January, it might be a recipe for disaster,” says Swann. “Quitting smoking at any time of the year is going to be challenging, period. To decide to take on the challenge in the New Year after weeks of possible indulgence may create further obstacles for success.”

To stop eating chocolate – forever!

“A sure way of failure is to completely go cold turkey on a food you love,” says Swann.

Sure, having too much of a good thing is certainly not good for you but the healthier option is to consume in moderation.

“Relish the enjoyment of eating that food (in small quantities), rather than gorging on the food until you are physically and emotionally unwell,” Swann says.

According to Kristina Mamrot, the reason why we tend not to stick to resolutions is that we think we have to rely on willpower, which is often a short term thing and will fail sooner or later.

“You are better off saying ‘I will add a banana/apple to my daily eating’ or some smaller, specific change. ‘I will lose weight’ is too big and too overwhelming.”

And remember to hold yourself accountable – or if you can’t, enlist the help of someone who can.

“As humans, we simply forget about the resolution, like we forget we’re on a diet until after we’ve eaten the entire pizza,” says Mamrot. “Resolutions don’t stick also because we decide it’s all too hard. We need to be specific with our goals so they then become more attainable.”

Swann and Mamrot suggest waiting until February – see if you still want to make some changes or set some goals for the year.

“Simply avoid making a New Year Resolution. Commit to something like, ‘I’m going to relax more’ or ‘I’m going to have more fun’. Make it something positive and something you like doing. And then schedule it in to your weekly regime.”

So the clearest way to make definite changes? Get specific. Get accountable. Get serious. Write down the changes or get a buddy to help you, be kind to yourself, and get the assistance you need. Make small, consistent changes – you will need to change your thinking and your behaviour, and that doesn’t happen easily. Reward yourself along your journey – but not with what you’re trying to change!

What are your goals for the New Year? How do you plan to implement these changes? Let us know!