A New Year's resolution is a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour. We all know that - right? So why do so many of our New Year's resolutions fail?
Researchers have looked at success rates of peoples' resolutions:
- the first two weeks usually go along beautifully
- but by February, people are slipping, and
- by the following December, most people are back where they started, often even further behind.
Why do so many people not keep their resolutions? Well, there are a number of reasons:
- people aren't ready to change their habits, particularly bad ones
- they set themselves unrealistic goals and expectations, and
- when it doesn't “change your life”, they get discouraged and revert back to old behaviours.
Making resolutions work is essentially changing behaviours and in order to do that, you have to change your thinking and "rewire" your brain. (It sounds a bit like Systems Thinking to me…)
So, if you're going to make New Year's resolutions, here's some tips to help you make them work:
- Focus on one resolution - rather several
- Set realistic specific goals - e.g. losing 10 pounds in 90 days
- Don't wait till New Year's eve - make a difference everyday
- Take small steps - one step at a time
- Have an accountability buddy - someone close to you that you have to report to
- Celebrate your success - including between milestones
- Focus your thinking on new behaviours and thought patterns - it takes time to change habits
- Focus on the present - what's the one thing you can do today
So, with that in mind, what I am going to do differently in2017? Well, I’m going to post a little more frequently - once a month. See you again in February.
Many thanks for the advice from Ray Williams via Psychology Today.