Setting New Year’s Resolutions that Succeed
2018 is finally upon us! Another year has begun where we have the option to re-define who we are and how we may seek to improve our quality of life, by eroding old habits and incorporating positive change. Whether your goal is to hit the gym more regularly, to practice yoga, learn to meditate, or increase your intuition and spirituality, learning how to maintain your enthusiasm towards keeping your resolution requires some careful planning and perseverance. In his article, “How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions,” on his “AllPsych Blog,” dated December 27, 2017, Neil Petersen discusses how “balancing long-term and short-term reward” may dictate the success rate of our particular New Year’s Resolutions. See https://blog.allpsych.com/how-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions/.
Petersen found that most of us tend to set resolutions that have “delayed payoffs…where you only reap the benefits further down the road.” See Petersen Article dated December 27, 2017 as referenced above. Success at keeping your resolution(s) may hinge on whether you experience “immediate rewards” from your desired activities such as exercising or meditating. As a basic formula, if you find a way of adding short-term rewards that motivate you daily as a part of your New Year’s Resolution(s), you will increase the potential of being successful at maintaining your Resolution(s).
Some basic things that you can do to add short-term reward to your goals may include:
1. Commit to a resolution with a close friend or partner so that you can hold each other accountable.
2. Seek to make your resolution a social activity. For example, if you want to learn Yoga, then join a class with your friends, and if you want to learn to meditate solicit a friend to work at mediation with you.
3. Plan times when you and your partner can meet and discuss your progress and challenges associated with achieving your goal. If you wish to increase your intuition and spirituality by reading books or attending events, then set the time aside to make this happen.
4. Be flexible with your goals and do not get discouraged if you miss the mark.
5. Set realistic expectations and take it one day at a time.
6. Remember that any old habit usually requires effort and follow through to change, and you will be most successful at replacing an unwanted old habit with a newer one over time.
A study of 96 people published in The European Journal of Social Psychology found that it took on average 66 days to form a habit, such as eating fruit at lunch or running for 15 minutes a day. But in the study the actual number of days ranged from 18 days to 254 days-indicating that the amount of time can vary based on the individual. See “How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit?” www.balckmores.com.au published on April 29, 2015. While it may take some time to meet your goals, the effort will be worthwhile and pay you back in dividends.
7. You should seek a set of resolutions that align with your personal values and goals. Psychologists refer to this as “self-concordance” which means in an “intuitive sense: if you are making New Year’s resolutions that involve goals that really matter to you, you’re more likely to keep them than if your making New Year’s resolutions that involve goals that matter to other people or goals that you feel social pressure to meet.” See Petersen Article dated December 27, 2017 as referenced above.
It is currently the third day of the new year and you have plenty of time to select a set of Resolution(s) that matter the most to you. Take some time and evaluate the resolution(s) that you feel most passionate about and charter your path ahead. Be consistent with your goal(s) and do your best to persevere as you will likely learn a great deal about yourself, and increase the odds of being successful at keeping your resolutions well into the year ahead and beyond.