New Year’s resolutions: February is the new January

Do you want to turn your New Year's resolutions into lasting habits? Starting your resolutions in February instead of January could be the answer.

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Goal-setting in the new year

So, you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to make some important changes in your life. Maybe you’ve vowed to get your finances in order, exercise more, or even quit a bad habit you know isn’t doing you any good, like smoking weed?

Of course making New Year’s resolutions is a positive thing. The start of a new year often makes us look back on the previous year and evaluate the positive and negative things we did or didn’t do, and possibly we’ve got a few regrets in there. The New Year gives us an opportunity to start afresh, and when we make our New Year’s resolutions we do so in the belief that this year is going to be different, THIS YEAR is going to be the year that we get fit or eat only organic-gluten-free-paleo food or finally achieve that elusive work/life balance.

When New Year’s resolutions fail

Strangely, we often find ourselves making similar resolutions every year, because for some reason we never ended up making the previous year’s resolutions into a real life-changing habit. Why is this? There are many reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t work out. Maybe they were too ambitious or not feasible within the logistics of your life. Perhaps you made too many or just made them because everyone else was doing it but none of you were really that committed. Don’t beat yourself up too much – you’re not alone in falling off the wagon! In fact, University of Scranton research found that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

The whole New Year’s resolution thing seems to be getting more and more popular every year, especially now in our social media culture. You’ve probably got a few friends who publicly declared their New Year’s resolutions on Facebook or Twitter, not to mention all the blogs (like this one!) that love to post on this topic. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe the problem with not getting New Year’s resolutions to stick is that, well, they’re made at New Year? Have you ever stopped to think that January 1 is actually a really terrible time to kick off a new habit? 

Work towards your goals after the holidays

At New Years, You’re likely on holiday from work/uni/school and so not living your day-to-day life and not experiencing the pressures and commitments that will return when you go back to work/uni/school. Making new habits or goals stick when you’re actively in the midst of your ‘normal life’ will allow you to incorporate them into your life in a way that makes everything balance. Dr Maxwell Maltz observed and documented in the 50s that actions often take 21 days to really stick as a habit, so disrupting your new change by introducing a new routine (or just getting back into routine), may be half the problem. For example, if one of your goals is to cook more dinners at home, then once you’re back at work is the perfect time to start, as you’ll need to come up with tactics and solutions to make this feasible long-term.

All this points to fact that the ideal time to start your New Year’s resolution is really February 1. By this time you’re back to your ‘normal life’ and well recovered from the holiday period. A good idea is to spend January reflecting on the year that’s been and brainstorming a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions, but not actually formalising anything before February 1. And, by this time, all your friends will have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions, so you can sit smugly back and think to yourself that you’ve got the real strategy up your sleeve to making it work this year.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions in February is to quit or cut down smoking weed, we’ve got some resources that could really help you out and make your resolution a reality. Check out our Get Help page, call our cannabis info line on 1800 30 40 50 or order our Do-it-Yourself guide to quitting cannabis.

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