When asked about new year’s resolutions, most people snigger that they don’t have any new year’s resolution. Either they have it and don’t want to tell it lest they fall short of their ‘foot-in-the-mouth’ goal, or they really don’t want to have a resolution because they know that they will fail.
What causes this failure of new year’s resolutions? For that matter, what causes the failure of most goals?
A deep dive would give us a few causes. Here are the top 3:
Firstly, we may not be wanting it bad enough. It might be a wish but not a deep desire driven by a purpose. For example, most people want to lose weight but they may be comfortable in their present condition to not want this goal bad enough. Many want to crack the sub-60 10K run or sub-2 half marathon, but they don’t want it bad enough to sustain the discomfort of tempo runs.
Secondly, we may not have the ability to carry out the tasks required to achieve the goal. Most tasks designed are so huge that even looking at it makes us shiver. For example, to lose weight people set the task of doing 60 min of HIIT workouts at least 5 days a week. Some may set the task of eating only raw salads every night. These tasks are not sustainable even for many head strong individuals.
Thirdly, our memories fail to carry out the tasks repeatedly at the appropriate times and at the appropriate place. For example, we tend to gobble up food while sitting in front of TV when our task would have been to slow down while eating. We tell ourselves to meditate before going to bed, but at the opportune time iPad takes over on the bed.
BJ Fogg, of Stanford University, says that for a habit to work consistently, 3 things must occur simultaneously: Motivation, Ability and Trigger.
BJFogg Model is Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger (B=MAT)
What does that mean for us who want to create a new habit?
Motivation: Find your reasons to change. How bad do you want it? If not bad enough, change the goal to make it more appealing or attach it with another goal to make it more appealing. Same goes with habits. Do you want the habit bad enough? If not, make the habit interesting or attach it with another interesting habit.
For example, you want to lose weight but don’t want to eat salads every night, then eat cooked veggies.
If you don’t want to run, take up walking instead if you like walking.
If you don’t like running but want to run, then attach this goal with another interesting behavior. For example, do a light jog of 2k after a grueling weight training to recover.
Ability: Make the task in sync with your ability. Instead of starting off with 5 days a week of exercise, focus on 1 day a week. Make this habit consistent and then move to 2 days a week of exercise, then 3 and then 4.
- Instead of doing 100 push-ups at a go, break it up in chunks of 10 push-ups done every min for 10 min.
- Instead of eating a perfect meal in every meal, focus on 1 meal and eat that right.
- Instead of meditating for 1 hour, meditate for 5 min first.
- Build the ability to match the task or habit or scale down the habit to match your ability. Simplify.
Trigger: Find triggers or reminders for your habits. For example, if you want to exercise, then keep your workout clothes and shoes by your bed side as reminder. If you want to slow down to eat, sit down first and take 5 deep and slow breath. Use the slow breaths as trigger to slow you down. If you want to fix your running form, use every kilometer milestone as a trigger to check up your running form.
What are your new year’s resolution? Want to form habits to achieve your fat loss and fitness goals? Connect with us. We bring Science, Psychology and (Common) Sense approach to Nutrition, Exercise and Lifestyle Intervention.
Pic-Credit: made2mentor.com, fredcampos.com