With the passing of the year many people make resolutions they want to achieve, yet they don’t. Leaving the question: Do they set themselves up for failure?
The start of the New Year is often the perfect time to turn a new page in your life, which is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions. Thanks to holiday indulgence, losing weight is first on the list for many people. Making the resolutions is the easy part, keeping them is anenigma. By the time the calendar flips to December, most people are back to where they started or even worse.
So, why do we have a hard time keeping resolutions? Do we jinx ourselves the moment we decide to resolve? Or are people just weak-willed or lazy? “I proudly fall in this bracket and managed to give up alcohol for the month of January. Yes, January. Not the whole year, not even the first six months. And honestly, I’m not an alcoholic, so it wasn’t a huge leap for me,” says Eric Otieno, 35.
There is nothing as difficult as keeping a New Year resolution and many people break them just as fast as they make them. “I don’t believe in New Year resolutions. Why? Because they never amount to anything. I rarely achieve two per cent of them. So why bother making them at all then, if they are just going to remain wishes and dreams until the next year rolls around and you do it all over again?” an amused Otieno asks.
Some remember they even made resolutions when the year is about to end. Take James Mwendia who only realised a few days ago that he actually had some big goals to achieve. “Just last night, as I was watching a match I missed last weekend, it occurred to me that I only have 18 days to achieve some huge resolutions I made in the beginning of the year,” he says.
When it comes to losing weight many people, especially women find it difficult to hold themselves accountable. “After the festivities last year, I noticed my stomach jiggling everytime I made a step. I now had a double chin it was so disturbing and I resolved to lose more than 10kgs this year,” says Mary Mwihaki, who promised to achieve a body that could rival a personal trainer.
“The trainer in the gym I subscribed to doesn’t know I exist, I’ve never seen him as well,” she says. Mwihaki has since gained more than the 10kgs she resolved to lose. “It’s a jinx I swear,” she says. This year, however, she has a new resolution, ‘never make a New Year resolution again,” she says with finality. However, a few people have found their way through this jinx and emerged successful.
“During the past few weeks, I have been thinking about what I want to achieve in this coming year,” Janet Munyenyi says. “I’m now in the ‘goal-setting’ phase,” she says. “I have been thinking of some more personal goals I want to achieve. These are not tied to health and fitness, or business. But rather, things that I would like to achieve just for me,” she says.
According to Munyenyi this has been something she wanted to do for a long time, but the timing has never been quite right. “Well, I am beginning to think the timing might be better next year, so it’s on my list. I have moments of believing I can do it, and then other moments when I question it. Nevertheless, I am setting it anyway. Because once something is on your goal list, things begin to happen,” she says.
“So now I don’t believe in New Year resolutions nor do I waste time making them, I set realistic goals and I think that would work more for anyone caught up within this resolution mess,” she says. Sociologist Jackline Wamunyu concurs with Munyenyi.
“If you’re one of the many people who make resolutions and fail to achieve them then the very January you made them, what you make are not resolutions, they are simply wishes,” she says. “Wishful thinking if you may. How people say they want to achieve or lose something, yet leave it to fate and actually do nothing about it?” she asks.
“The moment you mention or even think about that word ‘resolve’ and knowing very well that you won’t do whatever that it is you resolved to do, is the moment you set yourself for that curse/jinx,” she says. According to Wamunyu, if you have struggled to achieve New Year resolutions in the past, maybe it is time you tried a different strategy.
“Rather than refer to your wish list as resolutions, you can set up your resolutions like you would set up goals. Make sure they are realistic and smart. Rather than have ‘lose weight’ as a resolution, how about saying ‘I will lose three kilogrammes by February’. Then you’ll have been specific and time-bound at the same time, that’s a goal,” she says.