Sticking to New Year’s resolutions

By Drum Digital
01 January 2016

It’s easy to draw up a long list of changes we want to make to our lives, but it’s another thing sticking to them.

Most people will admit to making impulsive New Year’s resolutions and promptly forgetting all about them soon after, with studies showing our efforts usually only last for around a week. Giving up alcohol or cigarettes, hitting the gym, losing weight, finding a new job - these are all popular choices as the end of another year draws to a close, but how can we make these goals a reality? We look at advice from the experts on ensuring our good intentions don’t go to waste in 2016.

The first tip is pretty straightforward – start on a Monday. Research has shown that people view this day as a fresh start to a new week and are more likely to stick to diet and exercise regimes, or quit smoking. While you may traditionally want to embark on your resolutions on New Year’s Day, if this doesn’t fall on a Monday like this year, it may be worth waiting until then (or even starting early!).

It’s also worth knowing that people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve success than those who don’t articulate them. A study by professor John Norcross, from the University of Scranton, found 46 per cent of people who were vocal about wanting to change their behaviour were still striving to do so six months later.

When you decide on a resolution, be as specific and realistic as possible and try writing down a plan of how you will achieve it. It’s much harder to stay on track if your goals are vague, so detail is everything!

Breaking your resolution into smaller parts is helpful too, as a large goal – i.e. find happiness – can seem overwhelming and unobtainable. Try and find a way to divide up your resolution so it seems easier to achieve. This will also give you a confidence boost each time you can tick something off the list.

Once you have laid out your strategy, continue to keep a log of how you are progressing. A study conducted by the University of Washington showed individuals who monitored their progress were more likely to stick to their goals.

Forget about having a backup strategy, as those who are safe in the knowledge of a ‘plan B’ are at greater risk of failure. Focus on your original goal and achieving only that, rather than having the option of falling back on an alternative.

Finally, you could convince a friend to join in too, as research has shown that people who share resolutions with pals are more successful.

Good luck! © Cover Media

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