For many people, the dawn of the new year is marked not only with celebration, but also the opportunity for personal reflection and growth.
But as the year progresses, our initial drive for self-betterment can falter but our tendency to give up can be circumvented. There are various ways we can strengthen our commitment to our new year’s goal.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail, finding only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. But me, being a glass half full kinda guy sees that as
almost half succeeded! So look to your left and then to your right when with family, friends and co-workers, almost every other one of you ...will succeed!
The study also found 74% of participants listed their most important resolution as the same, or nearly the same, as in the previous year.
And, more than half of the resolutions focused on either “Weight Loss” (29%) or “Exercise” (24%) followed by “Quit Smoking”. (less people are smoking these days so this percentage has dropped) This suggests health-related goals tend to get rebooted each year — perhaps because New Year’s Day follows plenty of end-of-year festivities and feasting.
Furthermore, despite the participants reporting a strong commitment to their listed resolution, many gave up within one month…. One Month!!! Other studies have shown similarly high rates for not sticking with new year’s resolutions. So how do we increase our odds?
How To Succeed This Year!
As we said many resolutions are recycled from last year… many resolutions involve losing weight. Here are a few suggestions to help with that one…. For example, the resolution to “lose ten pounds” will more likely endure in the face of obstacles and difficulties if it’s linked to higher personal values, such as beliefs about one’s health or appearance such as “I will be healthier and feel better when I lose ten pounds and drop 2 dress sizes/pants sizes”.
In general weight loss is related to intake of food and the burning of calories… “If you eat 2,000 calories a day and burn off 2,000 calories a day, at the end of the week and end of the year you do not gain or lose any weight”, my naturopath nutritionist told me a few years ago… she continued to say “If you added just one bowl of soup in the course of every week… at the end of a year, you would gain 5 or more pounds”….
Now my mind works differently than other minds (I’ve been told many times) so I immediately asked her “so you’re telling me that if I remove one bowl of soup’s calories from my weekly balance of intake/burn ratio I would lose 5 or more pounds a year?” she said “exactly”.
So………. I suggest that you eat a little less and burn a little more and you will find success this year with your weight loss resolution….. Add smaller, easier to accomplish resolutions which will work towards a weight loss resolution’s fulfillment such as “I will stop eating when I’m full, if I’m eating out, I will take the remainder of my meal home to enjoy later” or “I will eat only half of my fries or onion rings” these are easily implemented into your new year routine, are actually doable and help sustain your motivation because as you leave the restaurant with your “doggie bag” you have accomplished a resolution… Yea!
So being adaptable in the process of meeting your goals will not only improve your general well-being, it will also help you pursue/ succeed with your new year’s resolutions.
Tips For Setting Your 2022 New Year’s Resolutions
When it comes to sticking to resolutions, insight gleaned from psychology research can be applied into several practical and easy-to-use tips.
Set Resolutions That Match Your Deeper Values
Your personal beliefs and hopes have a key role in sustaining your motivational impetus and keeping you focused. This form of motivation is associated with increased personal well-being.
Set “New” Resolutions
This is preferable to recycling old ones. If you still want to pursue a resolution from last year, (weight loss being the most popular resolution) we recommend that you be more specific in your approach... see above suggestions.
Set Resolutions As Specific Plans
These should account for factors such as time, place and people. Specific plans provide the mental cues needed to stick to our goals but it is important to make small attainable goals.
This is because they’re also less mentally taxing than more vague or generic plans that require further thinking. For instance, consider this resolution: I will walk for at least 30 minutes around the nearby lake with my friend Toni on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
It already sets a framework that provides plenty of mental cues and strategies on which to follow up. Also, including another person in the plan also sets a greater sense of responsibility, accountability and social enjoyment — compared with a more vague resolution such as: I’ll go on more walks this year.
Identify and imagine your desired positive outcome Visualizing your goals will help keep you focused on identifying the specific resources your resolution requires. It will also help mobilize a sustained pursuit of the goal. Imagine and/or See yourself in a new outfit/suit, as a leaner and healthier you!
Reward small gains along the way Enjoying small progress gains is not only pleasurable, it will also help to motivate you.
Review Your Resolution Regularly
Let’s face it, if you are not thinking about your resolution regularly, you are not going to follow through. Thus, a crucial part of realizing your goal is a regular review.
At a minimum, this review should be monthly, but the more frequent the better.
Also….. If You Fall Off Track, Get Back On and Quick!
For example: If you go 3 weeks without a cigarette and find yourself over a friends house holding one and puffing on it before you even know how it happened… give yourself a break!
Put it out and start again! After all, you went 3 weeks already so pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again…!!! This is not an excuse to start smoking 2 packs a day again!
And Finally … Be Realistic
The more realistic your resolution is, the more achievable it will be and the less likely you are to set yourself up for failure.