This week I learned something I just had to pass on to you, because if you are like most people you are making resolutions for the coming New Year. Well, it may shock you, but what I learned is that making a resolution may actually be one of the worst things you can do for your long-term health and fitness. Goals don’t work!
Sounds ridiculous right? I thought so too, only it’s not and when you hear why, I think you will agree. The reason goals don’t work well is the way the brain works. The human brain craves certainty above all else and really resists change at all cost, especially big change.
And, that is the problem with goals. Most of them are what psychology research calls “stretch goals”, goals that require big changes in multiple domains of our life. An example is a new years resolution to lose weight. That requires big diet and exercise changes. And those two things require time, which means we need to make changes to even more things to make room for these new behaviors.
The other thing psychology research tells us is that the chance of long-term success when you try to change more than one thing at a time is less than 10%. You may be able to sustain these changes for a short time, 1-4 weeks, but in the end the brain will resist and default back to its old ways. Change one small thing at a time and your chance of success is greater that 85%.
So, what does this mean for you and I and our New Years Resolutions? It means you should avoid making one. New Years Resolutions are way too big in scope. If you really want to change, you should make one small change only. If you are going to make a big change, then make sure that change does not last too long and has a plan for sustained changed attached to it. This is a far better way to approach it.
Want to learn more about the downfalls of goal setting? Check out this article:
...and, our web pages, to begin making a healthy change in your life: