New Year Resolutions: why don’t most last beyond January?

Every year countless people, including myself, either take it upon themselves or are nudged by well wishers to take on healthy and potentially useful resolutions to improve their conditions in life.

Surprisingly though, most of these so-called “New Year Resolutions” don’t make it even to the end of the first month of the year.  I struggled with this question and would like to share a perspective using my PIG, APE and Ego framework.

For those who have not had a chance to get to know the PIG and the APE, you can gain a quick overview by watching my TEDx talk at

Our desire to do better can come from our larger self, the big YOU or from our smaller self, our Ego.  It is a monumental accomplishment to become aware of the source of our desires.  Our clever mind is amazingly adept at conning us into believing that many desires that emanate from our Ego are good for us and the world.  This is why we must be keenly aware of who is running the show.  And, because our Ego is so clever, we must honestly ask ourselves where the resolutions are truly coming from.

A key question to ask is: Who benefits from it – just you or all of life?

It becomes clear especially when your plan makes you gain something at another person’s expense. While it may not be just material gains, it could include putting someone down so that you feel better, and so on…

Since our PIG’s primary motive is to grab, feed and find immediate pleasure, it will want the gains of the New Year resolution, while our APE, whose goal it to avoid any discomfort, whether real or imagined, does not want to put in the effort and rigor necessary to achieve the results.

The desire of our Ego wanting to change for the better combined with the natural inclination of our PIG and APE creates the perfect environment for the resolution to fizzle rather soon.

In order to overcome our natural survival instincts and our clever Ego, we need to outline and commit to a strategy where all the characters have something to gain.

We need to make sure that our Ego is engaged, our PIG is fed and our APE sees no threats.  Once our plan meets these criteria, we increase our chances to make our resolutions stick.

Would love to hear your thoughts on developing New Year Resolutions while being aware of the PIG, APE and the Ego.

Best wishes for a great 2012 rich with joy and learning,


Up Next: The Holiday Spirit: What motivates you?