How to Make and Keep New Year’s Resolutions
Posted by: Linda Kay | January 4, 2016
Here we are, three days into a new year and some of us are still considering making a resolution. You remember those – a commitment to improving something about ourselves in 2016. Self-improvement or at least the desire for improvement – is a shared American hobby. Some studies indicate that more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Wondering how many people are actually successful in keeping their resolutions? University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% achieve their New Year’s goals.
Resolutions may fail because people may not be ready for change, or their goals may be too lofty or hard to measure. However, those who are able to keep their goals on track report being able to connect to a sense of purpose, and have goals that are in alignment with their core sense of values.
Below you will find some great ideas and suggestions on choosing your resolution, clarifying your intent, increasing your will power, and making your resolution at part of your day every day.
Strengthen Your Will Power
People who put their goals on paper are significantly more likely to achieve them than are those who merely make mental vows, research from Dominican University of California has shown. What's also key: posting your goal in places where you will see it often, says Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., of Hazelden. "Your will matters most the moment you make a resolution — and you'll want to be able to recapture the intensity of that moment again and again."
Share what you've written, too: The Dominican study found that those who told friends or family about their goals did better than those who didn't, and people who e-mailed their support team weekly progress updates did best of all. Social approval — as in "You look great!" — gives your brain a surge of soothing oxytocin, explains Joseph Shrand, M.D., of Harvard.
Post your goal where you will see it every day.
Make One Change at a Time
Once you understand that you have only a limited amount of willpower, it's easy to understand why multiple resolutions aren't likely to work, says Ian Newby-Clark, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Guelph in Canada. Most resolutions actually require many behavior changes. Since weight loss is the top resolution, let’s use this goal as an example. Weight loss involves many more behavioral changes than the first decision to lose weight. For instance: deciding on a weight loss program, changes in grocery shopping and cooking, and finding an exercise program to mention a few.
Break It Up
Since your supply of self-control is finite, make resolutions that require small acts of will, not weeks of vigilance. The overall goal may be to lose weight while this week’s goal could be broken into segments that lead to the broad goal of weight loss. So this week goals could include going to the gym 3 times, take the stairs at work at least 2 times, and eat a healthy lunch – possibly brought from home - all week. The better you are at making small changes, the easier it will be for you to keep going.
To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.
Do your research. Identify the potential obsticles and make a plan for dealing with them.
Pick a Start Date
If you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic, and surrounded by positive people.
Go For It
On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment.
If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk, or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it and don’t allow this one time to derail your whole program. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them. Perseverance is the key to success.
Create a list of rewards for those days when you have been exceptional following your plan for on those difficult days when you’ve been struggling. Naturally, the reward isn’t a cheat. Instead it could be a movie, a visit with family or friends, a new box of golf balls, a pretty new lipstick, a trip to the library to cruise the books, or taking the dog to the park.
Dean & Draper
We hope that you are in the 8% of Americans who successfully make and keep their New Year’s resolutions. Of course, we would like to suggest one more. January is a great time to review your insurance. We can help you with that resolution and promise to make the experience as smooth and easy as possible. And we’re only a phone call away.
Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. ContactUs.
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Thank you to the resources used in this blog posting:
WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick
Margarita Tartakoysky, M.S. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/12/31/7-self-compassionate-practices-and-habits-for-the-new-year/
Dan Diamond, Contributor http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/2/