Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
The majority of New Year’s resolutions fail because people tend to focus on reducing or altogether ceasing the few habits that actually bring them pleasure (smoking, drinking, binge eating, etc.) If a normal, sympathetic person looks at a heroin addict who claims that he wants nothing more than to kick the habit and get back to his former life, they’ll probably say “That’s great,” then offer help of some kind. But that doesn’t work. Help the addict conquer his habit, and you’re merely placing him directly back into the sort of life that led him to injecting opiates into his veins. Most New Year’s resolutions are little different. If, at the end of the day, your mother’s recipe for fried chicken, four or five unfiltered Camels and a six pack of beer lull you into a temporary state of quiet contentment, then making a resolution on the last night of the year (usually while drunk, smoking, and full of food) to alter your ritual via baking the chicken, foregoing the cigarettes, and reducing the amount of consumed alcohol, isn’t going to enrich your quality of life on any obvious level. It isn’t REALLY going to make you feel better about yourself. And you don’t get the same level of contentment. People understand this, perhaps only subconsciously, which means they set themselves up for failure. Which is no good. The questions they should be asking are: “Why do I need to escape into unhealthy food, tobacco, and alcohol to find my peace? Are they really necessary? And how might I go about altering my life so that I will no longer need them?” That’s addressing the problem, rather than the symptoms, which is the only legitimate path toward curing sickness; which should be everyone’s real resolution.