Why you’re doing New Year’s Resolutions all wrong

Posted: December 30 2020

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Since the dawn of time (more specifically about 4,000 years ago) people have been making New Year’s Resolutions. They originally started as a promise made to the Gods, but today most people make resolutions as a promise to themselves to focus on some kind of self-improvement. Research shows that while around 60% of people make resolutions, only 8% of people actually follow them through. So what are people doing wrong? We’ve put our heads together (virtually, of course) to work it out.  

You put too much pressure on yourself 

Personally, we don’t see the fuss over “New Year, New You”. You’re great as you are. Yet, January’s a time when many of us feel the need to take action or make a change through New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s make it different this time. We don’t want another year of beating ourselves up for not going on that run, or “accidentally” had a second helping of dinner (#snaccident?). We prefer to make ourselves a promise; defining what we’ll take on as our mission for the year. By taking the pressure off ourselves, we’ll be more willing to give something a go, without the fear of failing (which brings us smoothly to our next point.)

2020 didn’t count. Hey, if you made good progress, then well done to you! Keep on smashing it! But rest assured that if you didn’t quite get to where you wanted to be, it’s no biggie. This year’s different. 2021 is a chance to jump in head first, bite the bullet, take the bull by the horns… you get the idea. (And if learning a new language is your idea of jumping in, we’ve got an app for that… 😉)

Fear of making mistakes 

Getting something wrong is no fun. Take learning a language, for example - it’s no mean feat. Maybe you’ve tried before and it hasn’t really worked out. Maybe you didn’t have the time, or other things took priority. Maybe you’re just reminded of Language lessons at school (and the less said about those, the better!) But what if that fear of failure was stopping you from trying something new in the first place? 

Fun fact: did you know that learning something new is the 3rd most broken New Year's Resolution? (In case you’re wondering, the top two are getting fit and quitting smoking, respectively.) While we can’t promise that we’ll make you smoke free or transform you into America’s Next Top Model, we can say that in 2021 we’re feeling cautiously optimistic about resolution number 3.

(Read more about why making mistakes is actually a good thing here!)

They’re just… boring! 

In 2020, everyone had to change routines and pick up habits we never thought we were going to. It may be that you found yourself loving some things (yoga? Hell yeah!) and hating others (in a never-want-to-see-another-banana-bread-in-my-life kind of way). But if you set yourself the same resolutions year after year in a last-ditch attempt to FINALLY lose those 5lbs or stop spending all your money online shopping (do you really need another scented candle?) then it’s going to get boring. And boring sucks. 

That’s why this year, we want to motivate you to do something that takes courage! Get involved in something different, and jump in. 

So, why should I care? 

We get it, trying new things can be daunting. Unfamiliar situations are nerve-wracking (even though it’s hard to describe why). Leaving your comfort zone puts you in a vulnerable position, and causes you to ask yourself a million and one questions. “Do I look stupid?” “Does everyone else think I look stupid?” “Why did I stop watching Netflix for this??” 

Believe it or not, those nerves are actually good for us - especially when it comes to the thrill of a new experience. According to psychologists writing for TIME magazine, “People who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.” To sum it up, trying new things not only helps to conquer those fears, but it also allows us to expand our minds and learn something new (both about the actual topic, and ourselves!)

Of course, you can choose whatever you want to jump into. Maybe it’s a sky-dive (taking social distancing to a whole new level) or it could be trying a brand new pastime (beekeeping, anyone?). We’re not saying you need to do something that raises the heart rate as much as those, though we wouldn’t discourage it. We are saying that trying something that’s out of your comfort zone could be as simple as completing a sudoku puzzle or taking up crocheting. Alternatively, you could start with learning a language. It’s exciting, engaging and allows you to explore a new world, even if you’re still stuck at home. 

How? We’re glad you asked. Memrise pours its heart into giving you relevant words and phrases, spoken by natives, that really will come in handy when you can travel again. Learning a new phrase or word gives us that wonderful thrill of being able to use it in real life. Not only that, it has a whole host of brain-boosting benefits too. 

So, having read all that, you might be sitting here thinking “What’s the point? There’s 5 minutes of my life I won’t get back”. Jumping in is all about giving it a(nother) go. Letting yourself try something new, laughing when it doesn’t quite work out and enjoying the thrill when it does. 

That’s why we want you to jump into 2021 with all the vim and vigour of a newborn lamb in Spring (cute). To give you a little helping hand, we’ve got a cracking deal on with 50% off your first year of Memrise Pro. Grab that offer here