There’s a very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal, about why we might have difficulty sticking to our New Year’s resolutions. To summarise, it says that willpower, our ability to stick to resolutions, can be affected by other things we have to think about; it’s not a question of character, it’s a resource with limits.
For example, if you’ve had a hard day at the office and go home thinking about projects you have to complete, you might reach for a cigarette even if your resolution is to stop smoking. Why? Because you’re taking some of the ‘mental energy’ (my quotes) you’d use to resist cigarettes and apportion it to think about what’s going on at work.
It’s like asking someone at work to do the photocopying, emailing customers, ringing up leads, sending letters and making coffee all at the same time. Something’s going to give. It’s not a question of the person not working hard enough, not being talented enough; it’s just that one can only do so many things at once. So it is with you and willpower.
Perhaps it might be better to stagger New Year’s resolutions across the whole year (which another Euroffice-r has cottoned on to). That way you might have a better chance of getting things accomplished rather than burdening yourself with every life-changing idea right at the beginning of the year.
Sometimes we have to relax to get things done, right?