Why is it when we set a New Year’s resolution our behaviour doesn’t change, or it only changes for a limited time? Read more about the psychology of New Year’s resolutions.(external link)
Inertia is a form of resistance where we can’t motivate ourselves to perform a behaviour. We know what we need to do, the intention is there, we just don’t do it.
One trap we can fall into is setting goals that aren’t really our own – they’re not personalised.(external link) Instead, we often set generic resolutions, such as to exercise more.
These may have been adopted from someone else’s goal or may be based on what we feel we should change, as per social expectations or norms.
Adopting broad, generic goals may be a good starting point for change, but generic goals can also be conducive to resistance because they are low in personal relevance.
Setting goals that draw on personal motivations produces greater confidence in our ability to change and a greater sense of ownership(external link) over the process. These lead to larger and more lasting changes in behaviour(external link).