Health Topics

Healthy Living

December 2009
Are Resolutions meant to be Broken?
Nutan Sehgal
It's time again to make our new year's resolutions and year after year, as we make them, we take it for granted that we break them. The most common of the resolutions are 'I'll try and lose weight'. This is good for your body and your health and we want you to stick to it.

Famous last words? Definitely yes! It's a universally accepted fact that most New Year resolutions are made to be broken. What's the big deal? Even Oscar Wilde said, "I never give intoanything except temptation!" But more seriously, why is it so tough to keep promises that are made with so much conviction and enthusiasm? The answer is simple. Most of us over-resolve. We make promises that are sometimes too tough to achieve.

Do the Doable

"I'll stop smoking, drinking and lose 20 kilos this year!" That's a recipe for disaster. Quitting smoking and drinking together and on top of it losing 20 kilos in a year? Perish the thought! That resolution is likely to be dumped in the first week of January! It would be better to have resolved to do something more doable —doing one thing at a time.

Every New Year - and even on birthdays or special occasions - people will make a serious resolution to do or not to do something. Even if the resolution is not difficult to stick to, chances are it is forgotten in a few days despite all the good intentions while making it.

Resisting Change
Resolutions mean behavioural changes and most people resist change, particularly when it involves altering a set pattern or habit. It is so much easier to go along with the flow and continue doing whatever one is doing. Habits are at times too deeply ingrained to lose them, and more people seem to be lacking the will power to stick by a decision. They give in once, and they give up forever. Their subconscious looks for instant gratification - the 'now' is more important and relevant to them than the future. For some, resolutions fail from the lack of motivation, while for others, the lack is of commitment. Many a time, we make too many resolutions at one time (and when we break one, we break 'em all).
7 Ways to Keep Resolutions:
  1. Keep small goals, which are reachable and doable
  2. If you can't give up smoking or booze, try restricting their intake
  3. If you want to lose weight, eat healthy for at least one meal in a day
  4. Can't work out daily? Start a weekly regimen and increase gradually
  5. If you make a mistake, don't give up, forgive yourself and carry on
  6. Keep reminding yourself why the resolution is good for you
  7. Reward yourself weekly for sticking to a resolution

Baby Steps

Remember, as a toddler when you started walking you kept falling often. Soon you learnt to stand up and start again. Gradually, walking became an ingrained movement in you. So start by taking those baby steps. That's the only way you will reach your goal.

Otherwise you will be like the guy who wrote the following in his diary on New Year's eve. "Cigarettes… new record. I resolved to kick the habit at 11:58 p.m. I managed to break the resolution in five minutes. I lit one at 12.03 p.m. Happy New Year!"
10 Common Resolutions that are Usually Broken:
  1. I will quit smoking
  2. I will give up booze
  3. I will lose weight
  4. I will join a gym
  5. I will study harder
  6. I will spend more time with my family
  7. I will go slow on impulsive shopping
  8. I will not lose my temper
  9. I will become more sociable
  10. I will find a better job/make more money
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
  • See additional information.