I would like to talk about not only why New Year resolutions fail, but why they are actually not a very good idea. First of all, a resolution assumes that we as human beings have resolve. The truth of the matter is the contrary. It is said that we have about 15-30 seconds of will power at any given moment. If this is true, then at my best, I do not even have one full minute of power. So, how am I supposed to sustain a year’s worth of change in 30 seconds? In truth, it is not possible for either me or for you!
If we break down the word resolution, we can see the word resolute, and from there we can find the action verb, resolve, which means to decide firmly on a course of action. From my experience working with sugar addicts or food addicts, they do not have the power to follow through on their action or resolve to give up their drug. It is only when they give up their power and realize they have none, will they be successful.
If I was to tell you to not think about the cookie that you want, what would you do? My guess is you would still think about the cookie. The point is you cannot avoid something just because you would like to. It is not possible. Friends, family, doctors, colleagues etc., trying to be helpful, often suggest self-talk, “Why don’t you just tell yourself, ‘No’?” Trust me, if you have come to this website, you have already tried that as well as numerous other remedies. On countless occasions you have given yourself the permission to have the power to be successful, but it did not work. You gave in and gave up. This is because you do not have that kind of power; you do not have the resolve. Do not fret, no one does! Not me, not you and not even Clark Kent! (For information about helpful positive and supportive Self-Talk Click Here.)
When we become addicted to sugar or any other substance or behavior, it controls our life. It gains this control insidiously without us even noticing, taking over our power so we no longer have any. Ironically, it is only when we admit we are powerless over the addictive substance or behavior, can we then be set free.
I have found this to be so in other areas of my life too. For example, I have learned I have no power over what other people say or do and no matter how hard I try to control them or their actions, I cannot. (Have you ever tried to control a toddler or a teenager, or better yet a stubborn friend or relative who just won’t change?) Believe me, I tried and tried and had to be totally beaten and licked before I could give up the fight. I finally had to admit that I could not change anyone and with that admission came a true sense of relief. Surrendering to the concept of having no power or being powerless has actually given me much strength.
So, back to the New Year resolution, the commitment to do something for the next 365 days. Doesn’t it seem overwhelming and daunting in light of only 15-30 seconds of will power we may be able to muster up in any given situation? (In a 24-hour period there are 5,760 15 second segments; multiply that by 365—that’s a whole lot of will power needed in a year!) No wonder why we fail at our resolutions. (Remember we may fail but we are not failures!) Instead we must trade in our New Year resolutions for something attainable and reachable within a more manageable time frame. I would suggest you begin with a Daily Intention. Imagine if you had something to set your mind on to accomplish for JUST ONE DAY…I bet you could do it! And by doing it, you might even enjoy the next 24 hours ahead of you!
So, set an intention for today and live it through!
Here are some examples: "Today, I will follow my food plan as it is written and enjoy it to the best of my ability," or "Today, I will find wonder in the small gifts of life." or "For today, I will be sugar and sweetener free." Now its your turn!
Remember, as an addict, you do not have power over sugar or any other substance or behavior until you put it down. With this admission of powerlessness, comes overwhelming strength, and hope, and relief!
I am convinced this power lies within each and every one of us!
Do not give up five minutes before the miracle!
David Avram Wolfe