But let's get back to the New Year's resolutions that have regrettably already been broken: Why exactly is it that we are so seldom able to manage to change our habits? One clue is already in the question itself: Humans are creatures of habit, which is why there is something in the saying "Catch them young." The longer we have a certain habit, the harder it is to break it. "Thank you, Captain Obvious," you will probably say, because you don't exactly need to be Einstein to work that one out.
In fact, this habitual behavior exhibited by humans is the very reason why habits can only be changed slowly, preventing us from suddenly turning our lives around overnight on January 1 and transforming ourselves from chain-smoking couch potatoes into the next Instagram fitness influencers. Those who try to do precisely this quickly become frustrated, because the devil on our shoulders cannot be overcome as easily as that.
It is simply unrealistic to suddenly start going to the gym three times a week or lose ten kilos within the space of four weeks with no yo-yo effect - even though the endless TV commercials that appear on our screens around the New Year period wish to fool us into believing otherwise. This overly ambitious aim soon leads to frustration when the weight-loss plan only progresses slowly. And the resolution to exercise several times a week also frequently fails due to the fact that we just can't find the time for it in our full diaries.
Stay realistic, think positive - and don't start on New Year's Day of all days
There are plenty of expert tips on how we can nonetheless stick to our New Year's resolutions. First and foremost: Nothing is possible without inner belief. As such, it doesn't really matter when you start to work on your resolutions. Instead of the New Year, it could equally be February 18, the summer solstice, your mother-in law's next birthday, or any other date. Having inner belief is the key.
Another point: Before you make any resolutions, think about what kind of target is realistic for you. As a couch potato, the aim of going to the gym three times a week is soon forgotten as soon as the first aching muscles cause you to flop onto your much-loved couch. Failure is then inevitable, because then you start lying to yourself by saying "I'll start working flat out again next week." It is better to start slowly with a gentle jog through the forest instead of signing up for a gym membership, because the devil on your shoulder is easily stronger than any potential financial loss incurred by an annual membership. Once the sense of achievement begins to kick in after the first few jogs around the forest, you can always increase your workload.
The same applies to losing weight: It may well be possible to give up sugary things or post-work drinks overnight and set a firm weight target - at least until the next weekend or party. During the carnival period in southern Germany in particular, the carnival processions and shows are dangerous. And even more importantly: Our bodies are not interested in the target weight we wish to achieve, so if the weight loss plan is progressing slower than we would like, we soon become frustrated and pile a double portion onto our plates out of spite. Patience and realistic aims are therefore of paramount importance.
A little helper: Motivation is everything
Thanks to countless wearables and apps, there are now numerous digital helpers that motivate us to stay on the ball and encourage us to stick to our training plan or quit smoking. Admittedly, we personally tend to get annoyed when our Instagram friends post screenshots of their run route every day alongside the hashtag #healthylife #sportsgoals and so on. It's nice to be proud of yourself, but rubbing other people's noses in it? That's uncool.
For yourself, apps that show you your run route along with pulse rate, calories burned, time, and achievements are a great thing and a real motivation. Digital nutrition planners that create a diet designed to get us to our target weight as quickly as possible are brilliant, as are push notifications that inform us when it is time to get up from the office chair or couch.
There are lots of ways of sticking to resolutions and lots of aids to help us do so - as long as we really want to. For our part, we have hereby stuck to our resolution for January of continuing to inform you as best as possible while also entertaining you. Well, we hope so anyway.