New Year Resolutions and tips on how to keep them…..
Some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions include getting into shape, starting a new exercise regime, changing to healthier diet, giving up smoking, spending less/saving more.
So why are they so difficult to stick to? New Year’s Resolutions are usually behavioural based, which are doable for a short amount of time. However we may set unrealistic expectations, want to change too much too quickly or believe we have failed altogether when we have a bad day. This makes sticking to it very tricky. We often don’t take into account the emotional investment needed to keep on track.
To sustain any change we need will-power. There is a belief that some people are born with will-power whereas other are not, this is not true. Will-power is like a muscle and it needs developing. From a neuroscience perspective, Will-power develops in our frontal lobe, this is the part of the brain that helps us maintain attention, solve problems, empathise with other to name but a few. So if we want to keep to a New Years resolution we are asking a busy part of our brain to take on extra work. If you think of this like a muscle, we need to gradually build it up rather than expecting to run before we can walk.
Where do you start then?
You are more likely to succeed if you set realistic expectations, break down the goal into very small achievable chunks so that you frequently feel the sense of achievement. Tell somebody about your goal and keep them updates on how you are doing. Become aware of unhelpful thinking patterns and vulnerable times when you are more likely to fail. Accepting that it may not always go to plan and that’s ok, instead of giving yourself a hard time.
10 tips to keeping your New Year’s Resolution:
1. Only make one resolution
2. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to set your goal
3. Don’t attempt previously failed resolutions
4. Don’t base your goal on what everyone else is doing
5. Break your goal into a series of time-based steps
6. Tell your friends and family what you’re aiming for
7. Regularly remind yourself of the benefits
8. Give yourself small rewards for achieving each step
9. Make your plans and progress concreate by writing it down
10. Expect to have small set-backs, and don’t make these a reason to give up altogether. (Reference: Professor Wiseman)
So before you decide on what New Year’s Resolution you are committing to maybe take a few minutes to ask yourself the following:-
• What do I want to accomplish and do better right now? At this moment, how do I want to use willpower to improve my life?
• Where am I procrastinating right now, and am I willing to take some action towards that goal right now?
• What are the deeper issues that might be beneath any resistance or procrastination right now? Do I simply have a habit of avoiding, or are there reasons I’m resisting a particular action?
• Right now, am I willing to decide to take action, to follow through, and to monitor how I feel?
• Am I willing to notice how anxiety tends to ease with assertive decision-making and action?
• Am I willing to keep practicing assertive action, knowing it will eventually become a positive habit, and will generally increase my willpower?
(Reference: Dr Keith Witt)