It’s almost the end of the first month of 2019. Jilian has crafted an exceptionally well content to give you the reality check about your new year’s resolutions. Go ahead and enjoy the article. Let me know in the content how you find it?
New Year’s resolutions – they don’t last over a month. But with little patience and planning they could. After a little research, I’ve determined that there are two psychological factors which cause most resolutions to fail.
These are willpower fatigue and decision fatigue. Impulsive decision making and over-exercising willpower cause these fatigues. That’s why most of us give up our resolutions halfway through January. But is there a way to make your New Year’s resolution work? What can we learn from people who train themselves to avoid these fatigues?
An Example of Willpower Fatigue
Jack is at a friend’s party. His New Year’s resolution is to cut down on drinking, and this party is an excellent test for his willpower. The first round of drinks is an easy pass. So is the second. But self-imposed sobriety makes Jack feel exiled, especially as it gets closer to midnight. Jack soon gives up and chugs a few, catching up to his friends. Willpower fatigue has ruined Jack’s resolution. His self-control has given him a lot of stress – resulting in a classic “screw it, let’s do it” scenario.
And let’s face it, most of us are Jack halfway through January.
An Example of Decision Fatigue
Jane is an office worker, and January is a harsh month at the office. She has to make a lot of decisions throughout her workday, more than enough to exhaust a mammoth. After the office, Jane heads to the supermarket for grocery shopping. But little does she know that decision fatigue will drive her reckless. Jane has made a lot of decisions throughout her workday. This supermarket trip will cost her a fortune, as she struggles to calculate her necessities and spendings accurately.
Decision fatigue seems trivial until you apply it to a field like law. A study shows us that judges can make better or worse decisions depending on various external factors like the time of day. This means that if the judge had a bad breakfast, he’s more likely to give someone a life sentence — scary stuff.
An irrational judge suffering from decision fatigue can be a nightmare for justice.
Now the question arises…
How does this affect my New Year’s resolution?
Pursuing a New Year’s resolution without a proper plan is pretty reckless. It will almost guarantee that you will fall victim to one of these fatigues. As January kicks off, everyone you know is hitting the gym, following a harsh diet, or cutting down on bad habits. And then – in the most “unexpected” turn of events – they all give up halfway through the month.
In a private conversation with one of the essay writers at EssayPro, it was said that those employees who overwork at the office often fall victim to decision fatigue. Their minds give up, and their writing becomes a jumbled mess of sentences. Those who decided to quit bad habits at midnight will most definitely face willpower fatigue soon after.
Life can’t change at the strike of a bell.
How famous people combat decision fatigue
Everyone is different, we know. But some successful people have managed to combat decision fatigue efficiently.
Politicians and businesspeople have a lot of decisions to make every day. Imagine being Mark Zuckerberg – it must be exhausting.
Mark has something in common with other iconic businessmen and politicians (Steve Jobs, Barack Obama.) They have stacks of the same clothes for everyday wear. They are avoiding the decision of what to wear – thus decreasing the number of choices they make per day. It helps keep their minds clear and focus on more important things. Have you ever seen Mark Zuckerberg NOT wearing a gray t-shirt?
Observing examples such as these, fighting decision fatigue comes down to baby steps. If you can’t decide where to go for lunch – bring a sandwich to work. If picking clothes makes you agitated – plan your outfits.
A different opinion: emotional success
Making resolutions work can be more stressful than rewarding. Most resolutions fail because they are impulsively executed. They focus on momentary gain without looking into the future.
Psychology professor David DeSteno offers a different approach preserving New Year’s resolutions. In an article for the New York Times, DeSteno argues that the most effective way to preserve a New Year’s resolution is to focus on emotional success. People obey impulses and are often short-sighted. And resolutions are very much long-term goals.
DeSteno quotes a famous study conducted on a group of kids, where each kid received one marshmallow as a test. If they resisted the first marshmallow, they would receive two marshmallows shortly after. The group which resisted had shown academic and professional success later in their life.
DeSteno suggests that exercising patience and selflessness is what helps people make significant changes in their life. It allows people to see both professional and personal virtues in their change. While impulsively pushing change can backfire and cause lots of tension and anxiety.
Patience and planning are stronger than any momentary gain; the ideal New Year’s resolution.
Most people see New Year’s resolutions as an exercise in self-control; a fight with one’s ego and a test of willpower. But this approach is a bubble doomed to burst. Resolutions fail because forcing yourself to do something to a great extent will cause willpower fatigue and decision fatigue.
You end up tired and give up your resolution halfway through January. If you wish for your resolution to succeed, look to people who have made it work. Iconic politicians and businesspeople limit the decisions they make per day. If a little planning can help you fend off the anxiety of pushing yourself too far – then that’s what can make your resolution work.
A little planning goes a long way!