New Year’s Resolutions That Work
Here's to successful New Year's resolutions!
On January 1st, millions of Australians share a common moment as the promise to "Exercise more, eat less, lose 10 kilos and be nicer to my mother-in-law" echoes from state to state.
Inevitably, on June 1st, most of us share another common moment when - chocolate bar in hand and exercise clothes buried in a drawer somewhere - we ask the bewildered question: "What happened to my New Year's resolutions?"
If you've failed time and time again to stick to your New Year's goals, this is the year to take a fresh approach.
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Resolution-makers are 10 times more likely to succeed
Resolution-makers are more likely to successfully change behaviours
New Year's resolutions are hard to make - but easy to break. In fact, if you think about how many times you've broken yours, you might start to wonder if it's even worth making them at all. But don't give up yet! In a Monitor feature, University of Scranton psychology professor John Norcross, PhD., explains that while nearly 60 percent of people will drop their resolutions by the six-month mark, those who make resolutions are still 10 times more likely to successfully change their behaviour than those who do not.
So how do you make sure you're one of those who succeeds? The difference between those who persist and those who throw in the towel is that "stickers" are better prepared for what's in store and don't expect to simply change overnight. They know a resolution is not some magic incantation that produces automatic behavioural change, but is a process of change that lasts a lifetime.
A process - not a snap change
At New Year's it's all too easy to ride on the hype of the season and feel like once you've made the dramatic announcement that you're going to drop four clothes sizes, the deed is basically done. It's not. It's simply the first (and easiest) stage of a long process. If you think of any resolution in terms of a process, instead of a snap change, you will be far more likely to stick with it.
Approaching behavioural change as an ongoing process instead of a decision made in a moment is a successful method used by many psychologists. This transtheoretical model (TTM), as it is referred to, is one of the most important things to keep in mind when making and pursuing your New Year's resolutions.